Celebrating “Old People’s Birthday”: Honouring Indigenous Elders

Celebrating "Old People's Birthday": Honouring Indigenous Elders

July 1, the “Old People’s Birthday,” is celebrated to honour Elders in Indigenous communities who lacked official birth records. Celebrating “Old People’s Birthday”: Honouring Indigenous Elders (Image: Still from the music video)

Affectionately known as the “Old People’s Birthday,” July 1 has become a significant date for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were born without official birth records during the 20th century. This collective birthday was established over 30 years ago to provide a uniform date for healthcare workers and others needing a specific birth date for documentation purposes.

This special day is not only a practical solution but also an occasion to celebrate local culture and honour Elders, including those who have passed. It highlights the strength, resilience, and ongoing contributions of Elders within Indigenous communities.

Celebrating Culture and Legacy

Last year, the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, in collaboration with Yulella Aboriginal Corporation in Meekatharra, Outback Tracks, and Adam Thompson, frontman of Chocolate Starfish, produced a music video as part of the NAIDOC celebrations. This project showcased the enduring impact of Elders on future generations.

The song, a pop-style track recorded by the Meekatharra community, underscores the profound influence Elders have on their descendants. With heartfelt lyrics, the track speaks to the deep respect and gratitude felt by younger generations:

“For our elders, we grow a little bit stronger,

“You led the way, and we’re here today,

“For our elders, we care a little bit deeper,

“For our elders, we rise a little bit higher – you led the way, and we’re here today.”

A Day of Remembrance and Respect

July 1 serves as a poignant reminder of the vital role Elders play in preserving and nurturing Indigenous cultures. It is a day to honour their wisdom, leadership, and the sacrifices they made to ensure the survival and growth of their communities. Through this celebration, Indigenous communities reaffirm their commitment to remembering and respecting the legacy of their Elders.

As “Old People’s Birthday” continues to be celebrated each year, it reinforces the importance of acknowledging the contributions of Elders, ensuring their stories and experiences remain an integral part of Australia’s cultural tapestry.

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Tony Clemenger.
Chief Executive Officer.
Tel: 0419431649.
Level 1 397 Chapel Street South Yarra 3141

Source: https://nit.com.au/01-07-2024/12150/July-1-Celebrating-the-strength-and-resilience-of-Indigenous-Elders-through-music

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