• National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children's day video featuring Jedda Hunter. (SNAICC)Source: SNAICC
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day celebrates 'the Elders of tomorrow' through online activities and centring the voices of our children.
Keira Jenkins

4 Aug 2020 - 4:13 PM  UPDATED 4 Aug 2020 - 4:14 PM

"We are the Elders of tomorrow, hear our voice," was the catch-cry of Indigenous kids across Australia in the lead up to National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day on Tuesday.

Videos of kids singing it, saying it, and holding signs declaring it, have all been sent in to SNAICC, the peak body for Indigenous children in the lead up to the day.

Posted by SNAICC-National Voice for our Children on Monday, 3 August 2020

SNAICC CEO Richard Weston said this year's theme spoke to "our future, our children and the leaders that they can become".

"I think it speaks to a really important theme about children and where they sit in our culture and in our families and in our community structure, being the centre of our world and really being those vessels that will take forward culture," he told NITV News on Tuesday.

"We really try to impart strong values to our children, we want to ensure they're growing up happy, healthy, connected to their identity in a really strong way and proud in their culture.

"We want them to take that forward into the future with them. I think that's really important."

The date of August 4 was nominated in 1988 to communally celebrate the birthdays of the children taken as part of the Stolen Generations.

This year, despite COVID-19 restrictions on gathering for many parts of the country, SNAICC has still distributed 15,000 "resource bags" as usual, and events are being held online whenever feasible.

SNAICC chairperson Muriel Bamblett said people are still finding ways to celebrate our children.

"From storytelling with Elders, bush medicine and craft making to flag raising, yarning circles and more, we encourage all Australians to find innovative ways to embrace this special day to support our children – the Elders of tomorrow," she said.

This year's Children's Day video features eight-year-old Jedda, and Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Dianne Kerr.

Ms Bamblett said it is important to celebrate and pass down the knowledge of our Elders to our children.

"Passing on our traditions from generation to generation over thousands of years is why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are some of the oldest on earth," she said.

"We want to celebrate the unique knowledge and wisdom of our peoples, starting in childhood. Our children are future custodians of our cultures, and it is essential that their voices are heard today if they are to become the leaders of tomorrow."

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made planning for the future more difficult, Mr Weston said it is this ancestral knowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can draw on to build a future for our children.

"Everywhere we look in this land of Australia, every landmark is special to some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person in some way.

"We have a deep spiritual connection to this country and this land and I think that that is the thing that can help us understand that regardless of what is going on now, things will get better.

"Even if it is hard to see what better looks like at the moment. Hopefully today is about shining a bit of a light and a beacon towards the future and our children."

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