This was a fantastic opportunity for students to think about embracing diversity and to celebrate and develop respect for other cultures.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia in July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We joined in to celebrate on Friday 23 July, with a range of activities for students to take part in and explore.
First of all, students were treated to a kangaroo sausage sizzle at lunch. For many Aboriginal people, the kangaroo was traditionally a main source of food. Today, kangaroo tail stew and damper is still a favourite dish. Students got to taste a kangaroo sausage that also had riberry in it (a native Australian fruit).
During lunch many children used the colours of the Aboriginal flag; red, yellow and black, to make bracelets and headbands. Lots of the older students were very kind and patient, helping the younger children to plait and weave the wool if they needed help.
After lunch, we met together and heard from Mrs. Rajanayagam, who talked about why we have NAIDOC celebrations. They were actually started by an Aboriginal Christian man, William Cooper, who was advocating for better treatment of the Aboriginal people and a call to the church to pray for them. Originally called ‘Aborigines Sunday,’ the first one was on 28 January 1940 and has since been changed to ‘NAIDOC’ celebrations.
We sang Wanjoo together, which is a welcome song in the Noogar language (written by Gina Williams).
We then heard from Noongar and Yamatji artists and learnt about the stories behind some of their art. Gloria Miller (The Vault Aboriginal Art Gallery), Teresa Miller (Teresa Miller Designs) and Makirah Miller-Lewis (Meekadarribee) presented their art and talked about using symbols in art to tell a story. We learnt many Noongar words, such as booka, which is a coat made from a kangaroo skin. We saw some interesting artefacts, such as a nut from a boab tree and tapping sticks. There were also handmade dolls and handwoven grass and emu feather baskets (made by Gillian Miller). The children enjoyed feeling how soft the kangaroo fur was.
Finally, students returned to their classes to continue activities with their teachers. They had NAIDOC themed colouring and art activities to take part in, to conclude this special day.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in making our NAIDOC celebrations a success. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to think about embracing diversity and to celebrate and develop respect for other cultures, in particular the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
I enjoyed hearing back from the students! Here are some of their comments: