National Reconciliation Week 2022

National Reconciliation Week -27 May to 3 June- is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Reconcilation Australia

Excursion to Bibra Lake

Kerry Street began our focus on National Reconciliation Week on Wednesday the 25th of May, with an excursion to Bibra Lake. We met with Greg Nannup, son of Noel Nannup, a well-respected Nyungar elder. Greg has visited us at school previously to share Nyungar culture and stories. Greg focused on the local area of Bibra Lake, he introduced us to the kinship system and shared information about Nyungar moieties- Manatj (White Cockatoo) and Wardong (Crow/Raven). We learnt about local plants used for medicines, cooking and tools- Djiridji (Zamia Palm), Wonnil (Peppermint Tree) and Waakal Ngaranak (Knotted Club Rush). We were also privileged to hear the Creation story of the Swan River and Point Walter: Dyoondalup. We also read the book Sorry Day by Coral Vass and discussed what Sorry Day is and what it represents. Students had the opportunity to reflect on the book through watercolour Art. We finished off our day playing at Bibra Lake Regional Playground.

Sorry Day

Thursday the 26th of May was Sorry Day, or the National Day of Healing, an annual event that has been held in Australia on May 26th since 1998. On this day each year, we remember and commemorate the mistreatment of Australian Indigenous peoples as a part of the ongoing process of reconciliation. During our Community Gathering students from Yokine Mia (Year 3/4) read the poem “I am Sorry” by Stephanie Mulrooney. This was a great way to take a moment to recognise Sorry Day, and the start of National Reconciliation Week. In the afternoon Yokine Mia and Kaarla Mia (Year 5/6) explored the Stolen Generation through reading and listening to “Took the Children Away” by Archie Roach. The students brought together their learnings from the song, with their prior knowledge of these injustices and had conversations regarding the importance of family, culture and languages. The students reflected on this, and completed an art response. At Kerry Street we walk with Indigenous Australians on a path of reconciliation and justice. We honour the members of the Stolen Generation and recognise their resilience, endurance and survival.

National Reconciliation Week

On Friday, the 27th of May is the first day of National Reconciliation Week. Today we shared the book Finding our Heart by Thomas Mayor. This is a story about the Uluṟu Statement for young Australians. Students discussed the impact of settlement on Indigenous peoples and the journey towards creating the Uluṟu Statement which was shared at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention. Following this, we created a visual representation of the heart of the land on which our school is built. We took a moment to stop and consider what this means to us and Indigenous people across Australia.

“For the children who will teach us how to find our collective heart.”

Thomas Mayor, dedication from Finding Our Heart.

On Monday, the 30th of May we read the book Collecting Colour, by Kylie Dunstan. This book tells the story of Rose and her friend Olive who go into the bush with their Mum and Aunty to collect Pandanus. The Pandanus is stripped and dyed before being woven into beautiful baskets and mats. Following the story, we watched videos of different Indigenous weaving groups- the Arnhem Weavers and the Tjanpi Weavers. We drew inspiration from their work and then headed out into the Wilderness Area to create our own woven designs. Artworks included hangings, animals, mats, baskets and so much more.

On Tuesday, the 31st of May we read How the birds got their colours by Mary Albert. This book shares the Creation story of how the birds received their colours. When a dove becomes injured, it’s bird friends try to help, a parrot bursts the swollen foot and then releases splashes of colour all over the birds. Following the story, in small groups, we went on a bird search in our Wilderness Area. We looked for Koolbardi (Magpie), Wardong (Crow), Djiti Djiti (Willy Wagtail) and various other birds. We also did some mindfulness colouring of WA birds and reflected on their Nyungar names. Our students enjoyed a relaxing afternoon under the trees.

On Wednesday, the 1st of June we read, Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs. This book is a celebration of past and present Indigenous legends and emerging generations, and at its heart honours the oldest continuous culture on Earth. Some of the legends include, Cathy Freeman, Gavin Wanganeen, Thelma Plum, Buddy Franklin, Jessica Mauboy, Adam Goodes and many more. Our students enjoyed hearing familiar names throughout the book as well as discussing those they had not yet heard of. The book definitely called for some further research into these Indigenous role modes. Following the story, we replenished our community art from last year’s National Reconciliation Week “More Than A Word” sign in the Wilderness Area to show our continued commitment to reconciliation.

Thursday, the 2nd of June was the last day of National Reconciliation Week. We read Somebody’s Land by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing. This book explores the concept of Terra Nullius and Aboriginal customs and traditions before the white people came. After reading, students reflected on the book:

“Aboriginal people make fires to keep warm.”

Kindergarten Student

“We should all be treated the same.”

Year 6 Student.

Following the book, we wrote messages of reconciliation on rocks. These were placed around our Wilderness Area as a symbol of our commitment to making change. They will continue to remind us that our school resides on Whadjuk Nyungar Land.

“This is Nyungar land. This is where we play, this is where we build our bases, this is where we learn.”

Jacey Long, Yonga Mia Classroom Teacher.