Yulunga, nagangbi, welcome everyone. This week we celebrate NAIDOC week. A week for us all to be proud of the longest surviving culture on this planet. We thank the parents, grandparents, mob from the community who have come today to join us in celebrating this week and those elders who have passed but are here with us in spirit.
Special thanks to Mr Nolan and the work he has done with some of our boys learning and leading us in the procession with the Yidaki and to all the Senior Prefects who stood up today in our acknowledgement. Our culture is the longest surviving culture on this planet, meaning we have been singing our songs, caring for Country, dancing and speaking our language longer than any other culture in the world. This goes before the Egyptians, before the ancient Greeks. That in itself is something that we are proud of and want to share with everyone in Australia. Which is why we offer everyone at this school the chance to not just learn about us in the classroom, but to become a part of our community. Simple things like allowing all students to come on Tuesdays at lunch and learn from Mr Nolan how to play the Yidaki, every Year 9 student learning how to perform some dances and being able to paint each other with ochre.
You will notice that on the floor are the footprints created during the extended Pastoral Care Lesson last Friday. Each person, students and staff, were asked to reflect on who your elders are, what they have taught you and how you can honour them. I loved reading through all of these and believe you all deserve a pat on your back for learning how to honour your elders. We have used the Torres Strait Islander colours this year as a sign of respect for all elders, from all cultures.
For us First Nations communities, our ancestors and elders fought so hard when the colonizers came. And they did this to make sure we would not lose our culture. So when we speak our language, no matter how little, when we sing our songs, have smoking ceremonies, perform dances we are honouring all our elders. We are continuing their legacy.
Throughout the year some of our students have had the opportunity to learn and practice traditional dances. These dances have songlines starting from up La Perouse all the way down to Narooma and Eden, travelling across many nations including Wodi Wodi, Dharawal, Yuin, Walbunga and Dhurga peoples.
We are grateful that so many parents and families, especially elders, could come to join us for the special occasion where we feasted on sweets from Auntie Donna’s bakery and unveiled the mural to the community.
First Nations Coordinator