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My Country, Our Country – We All Belong
Held every year on 4 August, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day gives all Australians a chance to celebrate the strengths of our kids and the important part they play in the make-up of this country – now, and in our future.
SNAICC – National Voice for our Children (formerly the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care) has been doing just that since 1988 through Children’s Day.
The theme for 2016, ‘My Country, Our Country - We All Belong’ recognises that while Australia is home to many, and everyone is welcome, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are our youngest Traditional Owners. This year Children’s Day celebrated the important role that children play in our society, and their special connection to, and belonging in, this country.
It is also a day to celebrate the achievements of early learning services and the children and families they support.
Gerry Moore, SNAICC CEO, said there is a special story behind the selection of 4 August.
“When we look into the history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were removed from their families and placed in orphanages and institutions,” Gerry said.
“In these incidences, many children did not know the date of their own birthday. Thus, a communal date, 4 August, was given to each child and celebrated as a birthday for all children.”
Children’s Day was given this significant date to pay homage to this incredible story and to reflect the continuing fight for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
This year’s theme incorporated two key ideas. Firstly to recognise and value the unique strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and secondly, the need to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to enable their voice and participation in the life of our nation.
This year, SNAICC supported 420 registered events across Australia and distributed bags of celebratory resources to thousands of children.
Organisations celebrating the day included early learning services, primary schools, peak bodies, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, and government and non-government organisations.
“We are proud that Children’s Day continues to bring all Australians together and enables us to celebrate and view our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through the eyes of our children,” Gerry said.
National Basketball Association and Olympic Basketball star Patty Mills was the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day 2016 ambassador.