NAIDOC Week is a dedicated time each year to celebrate the history, achievements and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and in 2021 will be held from 4-11 July.

To mark the event this year, Gunditjmara-woman Bayley Misfud, Officeworks’ National Indigenous Engagement Lead, chose animals that are significant in Indigenous Australian stories and culture as craft projects.

As kids create their paper animals to make these NAIDOC Week crafts, they can learn more about First Nations, Indigenous languages and the animals’ significance in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

We’re lucky enough to be able to share one of those fun ideas with you below!

Make a Turtle – Gurlibil in Yawuru Language

Up in the beautiful Kimberley region, five of the world’s seven species of marine turtles inhabit Roebuck Bay. Turtles are so special to the Yawuru nation that, in the six seasons of the year they recognise, one coincides with when turtles lay their eggs. In the Yawuru language, a turtle is called gurlibil. With so many little pieces to cut out, this is a fantastic project to really flex fine motor skills. Children can tailor the trickiness of the shell to suit their scissor skills and experience.

What you’ll need:

  • Kadink Construction Paper A4 Assorted 500 Pack
  • Keji Graphite Pencils HB 5 Pack
  • Studymate Glue Stick 8g
  • Studymate Soft Grip Scissors 6″/152mm
  • Kadink A4 Coloured Card 180gsm 30 Pack

How to make your turtle:

  1. Download and print out our template, below, and cut out the gurlibil, tracing it onto a piece of light green cardboard. Use scissors to trim around the pencil outline of your gurlibil.
  2. Cut out its shell on another piece of cardboard, this time a darker green.
  3. Then take a piece of brown paper, and cut out shapes to glue onto the shell of the gurlibil. Hexagon shapes fit together nicely!
  4. Glue all the shapes onto the gurlibil shell, and try to fit them together neatly. If your shapes don’t fit together, trim them and have a play – it’s like a homemade puzzle.
  5. Once all the shell pieces are glued down, make two small cuts on either side of the shell.
  6. Carefully bend one side of the cut under the other, and glue to the inside of the shell, repeating on the other side. This will make your shell bend upwards.
  7. Now make some small shapes out of green and brown paper and glue onto the gurlibil’s flippers to give it texture.
  8. Then add glue around the edges of the gurlibil’s middle and press the shell piece down onto the glued area, to hold it in place.
  9. Add eyes by cutting our small black and white paper circles and gluing on. Your gurlibil is complete – and completely cute.

Head to Officeworks to see more NAIDOC craft ideas including how to:

  • Make a Pelican – Junggar in Mibiny Dialect of Bundjalung Language
  • Make a Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo – Weelan in Gunditjmara Language