NAIDOC Week: NITV / ABC guide

National Aboriginal and Islander Day Of Celebrations Week begins today.

National Indigenous Television will be honouring NAIDOC Week 2018 and its theme, “Because of Her, We Can!”  It will celebrate the invaluable contributions and legacy that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have made – and continue to make – to community, to family, to history and to the nation.

NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Orman said: “For NAIDOC Week 2018, NITV will be showcasing a dedicated program line-up which will pay tribute and celebrate the invaluable contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

“From landmark documentaries, to showcasing the National NAIDOC Awards and bringing stories of triumphs, trials and tribulations from First Nation’s women to screens nationwide, NITV’s NAIDOC Week program line-up will be appointment viewing.”

ABC Head of Indigenous Kelrick Martin said: “For more than 30 years, the ABC has recognised the importance of giving a voice on the national stage to Australia’s Indigenous people.

“This NAIDOC Week, we continue to honour our Indigenous communities, particularly the women who form the uncompromising strength and support behind so many of the successes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”


NITV’s special programming slate for NAIDOC Week will showcase powerful women through two landmark documentaries. Launching the week of NAIDOC programming, Wik vs Queensland is a powerful insight into the High Court’s 1996 decision to grant native title to the Wik peoples of Cape York; and the dramatic political and cultural fallout that followed. The Song Keepers tells the uplifting story of women from the oldest living continuing culture preserving some of the world’s oldest sacred songs, connecting Germany to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history in the process.

Also airing on NITV for NAIDOC is award-winning film Ella, the story of Ella Havelka who became the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancer to be invited into The Australian Ballet in its 50 year history. Ella will air alongside other specially curated films and documentaries throughout the week, including Barrba Wadbirra: Journey Together, Black Chicks Talking and Radiance.

NITV is the principal media partner of the National NAIDOC Awards 2018 and for the eighth consecutive year will have the exclusive full broadcast of the awards, including the announcement of the ten national NAIDOC award winners. The broadcast will be presented by Marngrook’s Leila Gurruwiwi and Shelley Ware.

On NITV’s The Point, Rachael Hocking will be joined by guest co-host Nakari Thorpe, with the episode paying homage and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. NITV’s Living Black will air two episodes during NAIDOC Week, the first following Wik vs Queensland and featuring a sit down interview with host Karla Grant and the film’s director Dean Gibson. The second Living Black episode will follow reporter Nakari Thorpe as she travels back to her birthplace in Victoria to capture the story of the women who have inspired her.

NITV’s NRL footy show, Over the Black Dot will focus on women in sport during NAIDOC Week, exploring the Redfern All Blacks women’s team’s decision to print inspirational women on their jerseys, and profiling the artist behind the Mackay Cutters’ Indigenous jersey.

Finally NITV News will hit the road throughout NAIDOC Week, covering events and stories from across the country and NITV’s News – Week in Review, hosted by Natalie Ahmat will look back at the week’s celebrations.

Wik vs Queensland
Sunday 8 July at 8.30pm
Landmark feature documentary, Wik vs Queensland, examines the historical decision by the High Court of Australia on 23 December 1996, which granted native title to the Wik peoples. This nationally significant decision caused rumbles throughout the country, shaking up politics, dividing Aboriginal leaders and causing a national media frenzy.
Written and directed by Dean Gibson and produced by Helen Morrison and Trish Lake, Wik vs Queensland is a powerful insight into the court case by a young Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton. They worked closely with the elders and custodians of the Wik Nations of Cape York, far north Queensland to lay legal claim over native title access for the group of First Nations located in the Cape York Peninsula. Their case was built around the wonderfully rich and insightful document known as the AAK, containing Wik lores, their sites, history, land, waters and their intimate and intrinsic connection to country Post Mabo, the result in favour of the Wik claim by the High Court led to one of the biggest debates in Australian history as conservative commentators raised fears about perceived threats to ‘suburban backyards’ from native title claims. But no-one asked the Wik people what they felt, until now Looking back on this crucial moment in history, much can be learned from the Wik decision and the way that Australia chose to acknowledge, understand and respect Aboriginal people. Even today, at the heart of the issue, is the continued systematic failure of successive Governments to deliver to Aboriginal Australia December 23, 1996, should have been a time for celebration for the Wik people, Noel, Marcia and many of the other key players in this victory. Instead, they were branded greedy and treated as the enemy. Nearly a quarter of a century on; Wik Vs Queensland takes us inside the High Court’s decision and subsequent events through the eyes of Wik Traditional Owners, our nation’s political, judicial and Aboriginal leaders. With unique access to never before seen archive footage the film will transport the audience back to this momentous period of our nation’s history and the currency it still holds today Wik vs Queensland is by Bacon Factory Films, Bent3Land Productions and Freshwater Pictures, commissioned by NITV with principal production funding from Screen Australia and in association with Screen Queensland.

Living Black
Sunday 8 July at 10pm – following Wik vs Queensland And Wednesday 11 July at 9pm
For a NAIDOC special, there will be an extra episode of Living Black following landmark documentary Wik vs Queensland.
In this extra episode, host Karla Grant, sits down with filmmaker of Wik vs Queensland, Dean Gibson to find out more about creating this powerful documentary. In Wednesday night’s episode of Living Black, the show will reflect on this year’s NAIDOC theme of celebrating the invaluable contributions First Nation’s women have made and continue to make to their families, to community and to history Reporter Nakari Thorpe travels back to her birthplace in Victoria to capture the story of the women who’ve inspired her and women who’ve left a mark on their community to ensure their legacy is remembered. Alma Thorpe, Archie Roach and Lydia Thorpe feature in Nakari’s story.

Barrba Wadbirra: Journey Together
Monday 9 July at 7.30pm
For NAIDOC Week 2017 the Western Australian Police Force adorned uniforms and police cars with the Aboriginal artwork. The thought provoking initiative originated in the Kimberly with Bunuba elder June Oscar AO and Kimberley Police Superintendent Allan Adams. It quickly spread across the state and the artworks of seven Aboriginal artists from around Western Australia were chosen for the initiative named Barrba Wadbirra: Journey Together. This is a story of how two opposing symbols can be brought together to create new meaning and the possibility of change.

Monday 9 July at 8.30pm
In October 2012, Ella Havelka became the first Indigenous dancer to be invited into The Australian Ballet in its 50 year history. It was an announcement that made news headlines nationwide. A descendant of the Wiradjuri people, the film follows Ella’s inspirational journey from the regional town of Dubbo and onto the world stage of The Australian Ballet.
Featuring intimate interviews, dynamic dance sequences, and a stunning array of archival material, this moving documentary follows Ella as she explores her cultural identity and gives a rare glimpse into life as an elite ballet dancer within the largest company in the southern hemisphere.

Black Chicks Talking
Monday 9 July at 10pm
Black Chicks Talking is a compilation of interviews with five women, during which they reveal memories of their past as well as their future aspirations They come from different walks of life and are an actress, a netballer, a dancer, a businesswoman, a mother, a lawyer, a community police warden and even a former Miss Australia. The interviews are casual in tone, but they do reveal depths of truth. While the discussions reflect current political and social issues, they offer, just as strongly, a series of real and personal insights into uncomfortable aspects of Australian history In doing so, these women’s personal stories reveal a wide range of emotions. Experiences such as losing siblings and children to foster homes, and living with alcoholism and domestic violence bring forth tears, while childhood antics, travelling tales and general ‘gabbing on’ lighten the load. Each woman’s story does, however, reveal a pride for heritage, although this is heavily laced with the sense of searching for a lost culture The five women in the documentary are, Rosanna Angus, a community warden and cultural tour guide in her traditional Western Australian community of One Arm Point, Kathryn Hay, who is from Tasmania and was the first Aboriginal women to be Miss Australia, Deborah Mailman, an award-winning actress (Radiance), born and bred in Mount Isa, Queensland, Cilla Malone, a mother of six who lives in Cherbourg, an Aboriginal settlement in southeast Queensland and Tammy Williams, who is from Gympie, and is a lawyer who aims to be the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Over the Black Dot
Tuesday 10 July at 8.30pm
NITV’s NRL footy show, Over the Black Dot will focus on women in sport during NAIDOC Week, exploring the Redfern All Blacks women’s team’s decision to print inspirational women on their jerseys, and profiling the artist behind the Mackay Cutters’ Indigenous jersey.

Thursday 12 July at 7.30pm
Radiance tells the story of three young women who reunite, after many years apart, for their mother’s funeral, to grieve, reconcile and celebrat Over the course of twenty four hours, the skeletons in the family closet emerge, rattling violently.
Cressy, the eldest, is a diva – an opera singer who is reluctant to revisit the past and certainly doesn’t want to share it with her sisters However Mae, the second sister, believes that Cressy hasn’t shared enough. And Nona, the youngest – the party girl – just wants them all to be one big, happy family Love, ‘madness’ and a ramshackle house on the remote Queensland coast conspire to create an irreverent tale of family intrigue Radiance is directed by Rachel Perkins and stars strong female talent, Trisha Morton-Thomas (Occupation Native and The Song Keepers) and Deborah Mailman (her performance in the film won her an AFI for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role and a Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards for Best Actor Female).

The Point
Thursday 12 July at 8.30pm
In this special episode The Point’s Rachael Hocking will be joined by guest co-host Nakari Thorpe, with the episode paying homage and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

NITV News Week in Review
Friday 13 July at 7pm
NITV host Natalie Ahmat will look back at the week that was, as NAIDOC Week celebrations take place around the country.

NAIDOC Awards 2018
Friday 13 July at 7.30pm
NITV is the principal media partner of the National NAIDOC Awards 2018, and for the eighth consecutive year will have the exclusive full broadcast, which will be presented by Marngrook’s Leila Gurruwiwi and Shelley Ware. The NAIDOC Awards are an opportunity to recognise the outstanding contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians make to improve the lives of Indigenous people, promote issues in the wider community, or the excellence they have shown in their chosen field.

The Song Keepers
Sunday 15 July at 8.30pm
In the obscure churches of remote Central Australia, a 140-year musical legacy of ancient Aboriginal languages, German sacred poetry and baroque music is being preserved by four generations of song women. Written and directed by Naina Sen, and produced by Naina Sen, Rachel Clements and Trisha Morton-Thomas, The Song Keepers tells the unknown story of the choral heritage of remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia past and present, through the women that make up the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir. Their music is the perfect manifestation of how they hold their strong tradition, culture and modern faith in perfect balance, unabashedly and unapologetically. The choir embarks on a three week historical tour of Germany to take back the hymns that were given to their great grandparents by German missionaries, but in their own Western Arrarnta and Pitjantjatjara languages. The film celebrates these women and their extraordinary relationships with South American born Morris Stuart, their charismatic conductor and musical director who has worked with the women for almost a decade to revive the dying practise of choral singing at a time when it was almost extinct. Against all odds, together they take their music and stories of cultural survival, identity and cross-cultural collaboration to the world. Through their music, never seen before archival material and intimate interviews, The Song Keepers explores this incredible musical legacy and the complex, unspoken duality of central desert identity that goes with it. At its heart, The Song Keepers is a celebration of hope and the humanity of universal personal experiences that brings the unlikeliest of people together to achieve great things. It is ultimately a story of courage and dignity against the odds and the power of the human spirit and voice. The Song Keepers is produced by Indigo Productions and Brindle Films, financed by NITV and Screen Australia, in association with the Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund, Screen Territory and Film Victoria.


The ABC will celebrate NAIDOC Week 2018 and the crucial roles played by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in their communities and across the country, with a special suite of programs on television, radio and online, from 8-15 July.

The NAIDOC Week 2018 theme “Because of Her, We Can!” marks the invaluable contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women as leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, and their continued fight for justice, equality and Indigenous culture, languages, music and art.

The ABC Indigenous department is the centre of excellence for production of Indigenous Australian content and the development of Indigenous talent in Australia.

In celebration of NAIDOC Week, the ABC has produced a range of high-quality and distinctive Australian content to inform, entertain and inspire audiences, including:


A special roundtable discussion by Indigenous female actors, writers and producers about the contribution of women to their communities, history, survival and identity. Featuring Rachel Perkins, Nakkiah Lui, Sally Riley and Nayuka Gorrie. Hosted by Brooke Boney. ABC TV and iview 12 July, 8.50pm.

Black As
Go bush with the Black As boys in their second series, as they hunt for adventure and a good feed in Arnhem Land. ABC iview from 11 July.

Dinghy Girls
Quirky, fun-filled all-girls’ adventure about life and hunting on the frontier of the Torres Strait Islands. ABC iview from 8 July.

Grace Beside Me
Indigenous teenager Fuzzy Mac’s life is turned upside down on her 13th birthday, when she discovers she can communicate with spirits, in this children’s drama series co-commissioned by the ABC with NITV. ABC ME app/iview and TV from Monday 8 July, 5pm.

The Kununurra Kid
There’s something about outback Australia that fires the spirit of the adventurous Tom Forrest. Now he’s taking his Kununurra spirit on the road. ABC iview from 8 July.

The ABC, in partnership with First Languages Australia, will also mark NAIDOC Week by launching the “This Place” project, which invites Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to create short videos about place names and the stories behind them.

The 12-month online project aims to build awareness and understanding of traditional Indigenous place names, including the role of Dreaming stories and historical events in giving meaning to well-known locations.

In August, the ABC will further demonstrate its commitment to Indigenous content and creativity as the official media partner of the 2018 Garma Festival, the annual celebration of the culture of the Yolngu (Aboriginal people of north-east Arnhem Land).

From 3-6 August, the ABC will broadcast live from the festival, renewing its commitment to bringing together Indigenous Australians to talk frankly with each other and to focus attention on the issues most relevant to Indigenous communities.

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