Timeless connections to land recognised in NAIDOC Week

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander peoples' unique and timeless connection to land is the focus of this year's NAIDOC Week celebrations.

The theme - We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate - highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' strong spiritual and cultural connection to land and sea.

The National NAIDOC Committee encourages all Australians, young and old, to embrace the theme and to respect and celebrate local and national sites of significance or 'sacred places' and to learn of their traditional names, history and stories.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a sacred place could be a geographic feature like a river or lake, a beach, bays, inlets, hills or mountain ranges.

They could also be ceremonial grounds, galleries of rock art or engravings, or places used for cultural practices.

As the oldest continuing culture on the planet, the living culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is intrinsically linked with these places.

Long before European arrival, these places had traditional names that reflected the timeless relationship between the people and the land.

Often they were connected with Dreaming stories or told of the significance of an area.

This year's theme was chosen to also highlight and celebrate a significant anniversary of one of Australia's most iconic sacred places - Uluru.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the handing back of Uluru to its traditional owners on October 26, 1985.