NAIDOC Week 2017 – Our Languages Matter

NAIDOC Week 2017 begins in just four days, and all Australians are invited to celebrate this year’s theme, Our Languages Matter, at events and activities nation-wide.

Held annually, 2-9 July, NAIDOC Week promotes the histories, cultures and achievements of Australia’s First Peoples, and is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians to celebrate together.

‘Our Languages Matter’ marks the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, connection between people, and connection to lands and waters.

They are key to passing on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, spiritualties and rites, through story and song.

“Language matters to us as it provides a central connection to our cultures, stories, ceremonies and connection to land,” stated Reconciliation Australia CEO Justin Mohamed on the importance of language.

“It provides an important lifeline to our ancient past, and in doing so, provides a source of strength and inspiration for our present and future generations, keeping our people strong.”

“This NAIDOC week, I encourage all Australians to learn more about the Indigenous languages spoken in their community,” he said.

Read Five Fast Facts about NAIDOC Week.

For more information on NAIDOC Week, visit

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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