In 2023 Kerry Street celebrated National Reconciliation Week (NRW) ran from 26th May – 2nd June. We consistently embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into everyday learning and experiences and during NRW we take time to recognise shared histories, cultures and achievements and focus on reconciliation.
Throughout the week, our Kerry Street students actively engaged with Indigenous culture through texts; responding in various ways through art, discussion, and action. It’s a collective effort to learn, grow, and contribute to building a more inclusive and understanding society.
National Sorry Day
We are incredibly proud to share the inspiring work our students engaged in as we commemorated National Sorry Day. Moorditj Yonga Mia delved into the thought-provoking book “Sorry Day” by Coral Vass and “Took the Children Away” by Archie Roach, sparking meaningful discussions and prompting creative activities about the importance of safe places.
Our Yokine Mia and Kaarla Mia students embarked on a powerful journey by exploring videos that aimed to deepen their understanding of National Sorry Day, Intergenerational Trauma, and the significance of Aboriginal Language. Through the heartfelt songs “Kalyakoorl” (heaps of freedom) and “Boorda” (one day our paths will cross again) by Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, our students were able to connect on a deeper level and gain valuable insights.
In response to these experiences, our students took pen to paper and wrote heartfelt messages to the future generations of Kerry Streeters. They poured their thoughts and hopes into their words, expressing what Sorry Day means to them and what their dreams for the future of reconciliation entails. Their heartfelt reflections truly embody the spirit of National Sorry Day, and we couldn’t be more proud of their empathy, compassion, and dedication to reconciliation.
We continue to foster a community of empathy and reconciliation as we strive for a better and more inclusive future for all. Together, we can make a difference!
National Reconciliation Week
To kick off our celebrations on the 19th of May, we joyfully celebrated the immense talent of Aboriginal artists from all corners of Australia. Our journey began by immersing ourselves in the captivating pages of “Colours of Australia” by Bronwyn Bancroft. The book transported us into a world of vivid imagery, showcasing the diversity and beauty of Indigenous art. Delving further into the artistic realm, we explored an array of Aboriginal artworks on canvas and in digital formats.
We then created different stations for our students to explore diverse materials and patterns, including natural resources from our Wilderness Area. It was a sensory delight as some students chose to recreate paintings around the room, while others channeled their creativity into crafting their own paintbrushes using leaves and sticks. Engaging with patterns and colours, our students embarked on a journey of self-expression.
We continued NRW on Tuesday the 30th of May by viewing a powerful Acknowledgement of Country from Optus Stadium, where homage was paid to the traditional custodians of the land, the Whadjuk Noongar people. It was a moment of deep respect and connection, as we acknowledged their enduring relationship with the land we all call home.
Next, we delved into the captivating pages of “Kick it to Me” by Neridah McMullin, a heartwarming story that beautifully highlights the shared passion for sport and the importance of unity. Through the tale, we explored themes of friendship, and a shared interest and passion.
To further enrich our celebrations, we watched a video of Alex Pearce, the esteemed captain of the Fremantle Dockers, who shared his insightful thoughts on the Indigenous AFL Rounds and the profound meaning behind the design on the players’ jerseys. It was an inspiring moment that ignited a spark of curiosity and appreciation for the rich cultural significance embedded within the world of sports.
Building upon this inspiration, our students delved into the realm of mark making, patterns, and colours as they embarked on the creation of their own Indigenous-inspired shirts. This activity allowed them to express their creativity, explore the unique patterns and symbols found in Indigenous art, and foster a deeper connection to the culture. The shirts they created became a visual representation of their appreciation and celebration of Indigenous heritage.
On Wednesday the 31st of May, our students embarked on a journey of exploration and understanding as we delved into the themes of respect during our Reconciliation Week activities. We began by immersing ourselves in two captivating books, “Respect” by Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson, and “Welcome to Country” by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy. Both books centred around the importance of respect, with one focusing on respect for country and the other on respect for others.
Through discussions, we highlighted the similarities between the two books and emphasised the significance of having respect for the land we call home. We explored the profound importance of flags in various cultures, with a particular emphasis on their significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Together, we unraveled the meanings behind each colour and pattern, deepening our appreciation for their cultural significance.
Our students participated in creative activities focused on designing flags or tracing their hands and adding vibrant patterns and colors. Each individual expression of creativity and respect will come together to form a powerful symbol of coming together as a community and fostering a culture of respect.
On Thursday the 1st of June our school embraced the spirit of reconciliation by exploring warmth, delicious flavours, and joyful connections.
As we gathered around the fire pit, we discussed the diverse ways in which Indigenous peoples utilise fire, nurturing a profound connection with the land and their cultural heritage. We learnt about the vital role of fire in caring for country through cultural burning practices, in ceremonies, and through storytelling.
Students, staff and parents then came together to make our very our damper. Utilising some herbs from our Bush Tucker garden, we added a touch of Salt Bush to our damper. The aroma filled the air, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.
As we patiently waited for the damper to cook in the fire, we engaged in an Indigenous game called Paliwan. This hide-and-seek style game originated from the Kokominni people in the northwest of Queensland. Laugher echoed through the air as students embraced the challenge and joy of the game, fostering a sense of unity and connection.
Finally, the moment arrived when the damper was cooked to perfection. We eagerly gathered around buttered up the freshly cooked bread and indulged in its delightful taste. The combination of the smoky fire, earthy herbs, and the warm damper brought a sense of fulfilment and nourishment to our hearts and soils.
These activities allowed us to connect with Indigenous culture through fire, food and fun. It was a moment of shared joy, where we immersed ourselves in the traditions and flavours that have shared this land for thousands of years. Through these experiences, we strengthen our understanding, appreciation, and respect for Indigenous cultures.
On the final day of NRW, Friday the 2nd June, our school community had the privilege of welcoming Dylan Collard from Kalyakoorl, who guided us on an incredible journey of Noongar language and cultural exploration. It was a day filled with storytelling, language lessons, and deepening our understanding of the land we call home.
Language lessons became a bridge connecting us to the Noongar language, infusing our hearts and minds with the beauty and significance of Indigenous words. With each new word and phrase, we felt the power of language as a vessel for cultural expression and preservation. It was a transformative experience, fostering a sense of respect and admiration for the language of the land’s traditional custodians.
Throughout this National Reconciliation Week, we embarked on a journey of self-reflection, learning, and celebration. It was a week of empowering experiences, aimed at nurturing our students to be voices for generations to come. By honouring and embracing Indigenous cultures and perspectives, we are fostering a sense of unity, empathy, and understanding that will shape a brighter future for all.
We extend our gratitude to Dylan Collard from Kalyakoorl and all those who have contributed to our journey of reconciliation.