This week is NAIDOC Week - one of my favourite times of the year. It's a time when we celebrate the achievements of our people - the First people of this country and the longest continuing culture on the planet.
It's a week of reflection. NAIDOC grew out of the National Day of Mourning in 1938, and in the early days, it was a solemn occasion; a day of remembrance and protest against the treatment and status of First Nations Australians.
Over the coming week, around the country, we will see a wide range of events being held, encompassing this mix of celebration and reflection. In any given city, town or community, you're likely to find a variety of local activities taking place, from flag raisings and marches, to family fun days, BBQs, concerts, awards ceremonies, art exhibitions and sports carnivals.
This year, I'm excited to spend NAIDOC Week in Cairns, which will tomorrow night host the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony and Ball. Organised by the National NAIDOC committee, the gala event will see ten outstanding individuals recognised for their achievements and contributions to community, across a range of fields including sports, arts, caring, academia and caring for country. There are also honours for our elders and youth, as well as the prestigious Person of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
NITV will be broadcasting the awards LIVE from the Cairns Convention Centre from 7:30-11:30 pm, Saturday 1 July, for those who can't be there in person.
And the National NAIDOC Awards ceremony is just the beginning of NITVs bumper NAIDOC Week coverage. From Monday, July 3rd, I will be presenting NITVs flagship news and current affairs program, The Point, live from Cairns. NITVs news and current affairs team has been hard at work this past week gathering a range of stories from Cairns and other far North Queensland communities, which we are excited to share over three nights. I'm particularly looking forward to a feature on Monday night from NITV s Queensland correspondent, Ella Archibald-Binge about the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival, which is a celebration of Aboriginal culture in Cape York through song, dance, ceremony and performance.
In addition, we'll be featuring a range of stories relating to the 2017 NAIDOC theme, "Our Languages Matter", shining a spotlight on some of the programs and community groups working to preserve, revitalise and record traditional languages around the country.
And finally, I'll be out and about here in Far North Queensland, covering some of the local NAIDOC activities being held in the national host city, Cairns. I'm looking forward to meeting many of the local mob at these event - so if you see me or one of my NITV colleagues, be sure to come over and say 'hi'!
It promises to be an amazing NAIDOC week, both here in Cairns and around the country - and I can't wait to celebrate it with you!