The Indigenous Officer, Miss Kiarra Smalle is employed by the College to work in conjunction with the Indigenous community, students, parents and staff at the College to deepen the awareness of and engagement with issues affecting Indigenous people.
Her role involves the following:
- Teacher and student assistance where the need may arise
- Liaison with students on any issues where the need may arise
- Increasing Indigenous enrolments throughout the College
- Local community contact with parents, local Indigenous elders and community representatives
- Promoting awareness of the Immersion program ‘Lets Talk’. It is run in conjunction with Indigenous communities in rural NSW. Students visit the communities of Goodooga, Brewarrina and Walgett. They meet local community representatives in diverse fields
- Supporting a career-tracking program for our students; done with our Career Advisors as well as with the Koori Centre and the University of Wollongong and TAFE.
Social Justice Day at the College
Our Year 10 students were involved in the annual Social Justice Day. The theme of the day was “One body, one voice, many stories” where a series of speakers in workshops with the students led seminars on topics such as refugees, homelessness, poverty and climate change and our stewardship of the environment. Guest speakers included Paul Power, the CEO of the Refugee Council who spoke on the historical context of refugees and their plight, Richard Zamora from the Smith Family who spoke on homelessness and poverty and Maria Chi-Fang where the topic was climate change and the fate of the Kiribati Indigenous people.
Uncle Dootch took the students on a cultural tour around the outer surrounds of the College, shared local dreaming stories and information on traditional plants used for medicines and food.
Some of the Indigenous Activities Include:
As part of NAIDOC celebrations, students assisted with creating and placing of reconciliation leaves on a tree displayed in the library. I thank Mrs Lothian, Mr Persian, Mr Callan, Mrs Hurley, Mrs Ham, the Indigenous students and the SRC representatives who helped out with this. It was a great activity involving the whole College community and we look forward to continuing to develop understanding of Indigenous culture, especially the characteristic of listening deeply to all voices.
On Thursday 24 October, we took the Indigenous students to visit Woolyungah Indigenous centre at the Wollongong University. The centre is responsible for the recruitment, access and support of Indigenous students. Furthermore, the College is working in partnership with the University on the “Tullimbah Project” which is in the pilot stages to support Indigenous education and develop the cross-cultural perspectives of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.
By participating in this project, the College will:
- Support the No Gap No Excuse education initiatives of the region
- Facilitate school, university and Aboriginal community partnerships
- Promote best practice for working cross-culturally with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
Here are some comments from the students who visited UOW:
‘Boys and girls from Edmund Rice and St Mary’s joined together and took a visit to the UOW to learn about indigenous culture in Australia. We went on tours of the Engineering laboratory and the main sporting facility. Guided by Andrew, we learnt some more about University life. Some of the main things we liked were the lunch and a lecture experience provided by Dr Joanne Buckskin. This lecture was based around Aboriginal Australia, women sites, men sites, traditional ceremonial sites and a brief history of Aboriginal Australia. ‘ Tjani Buckskin-Wilson, Year 9
‘I really enjoyed going to the University of Wollongong because it showed me what opportunities there are out there close to home.’ Lachlan Sweeny, Year 8
‘Visiting the UOW has given me an insight into the education programs they provide. The excursion has really helped me understand the opportunities that are at the university and the convenience of it being so local.’ Thomas Popovski, Year 9
Kevin Butler – Artist
Kevin visited the school and helped the students paint a mural, which depict the role of the College within the community. The boys played the didgeridoo as well.
Aunty Coral Pombo-Campbell – Elder
Aunty Coral visited our College and interpreted the local dreaming story of the Five Islands (Oola Boola Wu). The students then applied their ideas onto a clay tile. The tiles are now displayed in our Indigenous garden. The students enjoyed this experience and gained local cultural knowledge of the area.
Boori Monty Pryor – Storyteller
Boori Pryor, the Inaugural Australian Children’s Laureate, has been a regular visitor to the College for the last 13 years.