Now More Than Ever

At Kerry Street Community School, we are deeply committed to teaching Aboriginal language and culture to our students. Our aim is to foster an understanding of the culture and language of our first people. We believe that this understanding, coupled with empathy, is a catalyst for change in how we respond to the cultural needs and lives of Indigenous people.

This year, the theme for National Reconciliation Week was “Now more than ever.” This powerful motto was chosen in light of the recent referendum and its impact on Aboriginal people. The referendum not only divided communities but also resulted in a significant setback, with 60% of Australia voting no, once again letting down our Aboriginal people.

During Reconciliation Week, our children took an active role in their learning. Every afternoon, they gathered to listen to stories and create art, deepening their understanding of the world’s oldest living culture. We began our week with “Somebody’s Land” by Adam Goodes and Ellie Lang, connecting this story to National Sorry Day. This acknowledgment began our journey of reflecting on whose land we stand on each day and how we should care for it. The children then created a flag on our fence to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Kerry Street is built.

The week was filled with storytelling, art, and Indigenous music, inspiring the children to reflect on the need for change and to deepen their understanding as we move forward in the hope of powering reconciliation in our community and beyond.

We also saw this week as a perfect opportunity to ensure that all staff continue to develop their cultural competency, which directly impacts their teaching. We invited Aboriginal artists to join us and share their stories about the impacts of the Stolen Generation and how this displacement has meant they are still searching for their family and community.

This powerful journey was facilitated by Rose and Starsan Roe, who represented the damage and change that settlement had on Indigenous life and the immense impact on the lives of all Aboriginal people and our country today. The staff solemnly reflected as their art transformed into a piece that poignantly depicted our modern world.

Kerry Street has an active Reconciliation Working Group that liaises with professionals and Aboriginal people to bring truth and authenticity to cultural learning. We seek the wisdom and knowledge of elders and instill the value of the Indigenous people’s principle: “Nothing about us, without us.”

Beyond Reconciliation Week, we embed cultural knowledge and history in all our learning areas and teach the truth about our country’s history. Our community meetings open with an acknowledgment of country written by the children, who are encouraged to care for the country as our first people did. The school’s hope is to power change in how we respond to our Indigenous culture and the First Nation people.

At Kerry Street Community School, we believe that understanding and empathy are essential for reconciliation. Through our ongoing efforts, we aim to honour and respect the rich culture and history of the Aboriginal people, paving the way for a more inclusive and compassionate future.