This term we celebrated National Reconciliation Week (NRW), the 2020 theme “in this together” reminded us we all have a part to plan in reconciliation. It is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. East Victoria Park Primary honoured this event by conducting an Acknowledgement of Country by the Noongar seasons totem poles. The school community formed a circle and stood barefoot on Country during the Acknowledgement of Country and then stood silent for two minutes to reflect on what reconciliation means to us individually. Staff and students alike, make these reflections visible when we collectively created reconciliation quilts. During NRW we also launched our newly formed Reconciliation Team, made up of passionate educators and Professor Simon Forrest, a Whadjuk elder and East Victoria Park Primary School board member. The team is in the beginning stages of creating a Reconciliation Action Plan for our school. Below is Lily Hare’s recount of the NRW Acknowledgement of Country.
Two Minute Reflection – By Lily Hare Year 2, Room 5
Today, Room Five was in their classroom like always when Miss Coulter-Nile asked them to take off their shoes. They thought it was funny to take their shoes off when it was a cold wet day, but they did what they were told. Miss Coulter-Nile told them it was National Reconciliation Week and they were going to do a special two-minute silence.
Then Room 5 watched some videos about Welcome to Country. Room 5 learnt only Aboriginal people from the area can do a Welcome to Country, but everyone can do an Acknowledgement of Country.
On the oval, the whole school stood in a circle. Tyson spoke the Acknowledgement of Country. We then had a two minutes of silence to think about the past and the present.
Miss Coulter-Nile then spoke to the school. She spoke about respect and care. She said Australia didn’t always have a happy past but we are working for a better future.
I loved the two-minute silence it was relaxing. I thought about saying sorry to the Aboriginal people. It was fun to stand barefoot on the oval.
The Weaving Looms from Room 9 and Room 10
NAIDOC Week Activities
Each classroom participated in activities highlighting the significance and celebration of NAIDOC Week. We were caught off guard when the National NAIDOC Team adjusted the date to November. We had our plans in place and so decided to continue as planned. Each child and staff member wore a Tshirt with iron transfer depicting artwork by our very own Seantelle Walsh and highlighting the theme: “Always was, Always will be”.
The highlight for me was our PBS NAIDOC assembly and watching the captivating grace of our Aboriginal Girls Dance performance. If you haven’t seen their performance yet, we highly recommend you have a look on Seesaw for the assembly video. I loved hearing the children share stories of their classroom activities with me in the playground. I was so very thrilled to receive this magical surprise from Room 5. Their very own class book, created and crafted and illustrated completely by the children. Their language is expressive and their understanding of the Whadjuk Noongar name for the Swan River undeniable. It begins, Many, many, many grandparents ago….