Australian news channel uses cities’ traditional names


A local Australian news channel presented the weather forecast using traditional names for cities marking the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week.

This year’s NAIDOC Week started on July 4 till July 11, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, reports xinhua news agency.

“To acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, we acknowledge the traditional names of our capital cities for the national weather,” said Channel 10 weather presenter Amanda Jason at the beginning of the segment.

The move was applauded by many viewers and commentators, some calling for the change to be made permanent.

In an interview with Xinhua, Jaky Troy, a Ngarigu woman and professor at the University of Sydney specialising in documenting, describing and reviving Indigenous languages, talked about the importance of using Aboriginal languages in the media.

“The use of Aboriginal languages to name places in the 21st century, after nearly 200 years of these languages being ignored, is a statement about the new understanding by Australians of the importance of Aboriginal people,” Troy said.

“The use of names of capital cities is a statement of the authority and the status of Aboriginal people as the First People, reinstating Aboriginal naming, using their languages is in many ways the ultimate recognition of reconciliation.”

“Use of language is a performance of connection to country, every use of Aboriginal language is honouring their Australian roots,” said Troy.

The theme of this year’s NAIDOC week is “Heal Country”, which is both a call to grant greater protection for the traditional lands and sacred sites of Australia’s Aboriginal people, and a promise to preserve the country’s traditional cultures.

“Healing Country means embracing First Nation’s cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia’s national heritage,” read a statement made by NAIDOC.

The week-long event hosts a variety of activities across the country including art exhibitions, cultural celebrations, concerts and educational talks.

“NAIDOC is a time to reflect on how we as Aboriginal people now integrate into this wider Australian society. We are starting to be valued,” said Troy.