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Students sing together for Reconciliation Week

Video: Morgan Everett

‘I am Australian' could be heard around town yesterday as students from St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School in the CBD gathered outside to sing as part of Reconciliation Week.

Year 6 students Kiarah Boyle, Laylah Jackson, Henry Jansen and Hannah Tritton said they had a great time participating in the event and learning about Indigenous culture.

“We sang the song ‘I am Australian’ in Yawuru language to represent all different Aboriginal cultures and languages,” the group said.

“We have been practising (singing) for two or three weeks in choir.”

The students said Reconciliation Week was an important time to share Indigenous language and culture with non-Indigenous people.

“I think it is so very important, the younger generation should be taught about the First Peoples because we must acknowledge what happened to them so that we can help fix what our ancestors did all those years ago,” Henry Jansen said.

“Reconciliation Week is important to St Joseph’s because it is about acknowledging the way that Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Peoples were treated in the past and even now. I believe Reconciliation Week is about building positive relationships for a better future,” Kiarah Boyle added.

Not only did the students gather to sing, they also held acknowledgements or Welcome to Country each day with meditation over the PA system while using Aboriginal yarning mats.

Teachers Laura Campbell and Latoya Long said the week-long activities had been well-received.

“Each morning our students taught the rest of the school some local language and important facts about Taribelang Country after morning prayer,” Laura said.

Reconciliation Week
Year 6 students Kiarah Boyle, Laylah Jackson, Henry Jansen and Hannah Tritton who participated in singing yesterday for Reconciliation Week activities.

“The whole school has been involved, including the Kindy.”

Latoya said learning about Indigenous culture didn't stop there, with students actively engaging in education with local elders and more throughout the year.

“We have a pet turtle named Milbi who was given to our school by an Elder who has since passed- Milbi has been at our school since 2010,” she said.

“We also have visits and go on excursions with Byron Broome, learning all about local Taribelang culture, history and stories.”

“Elders from the community come in to see the students during important days to contribute to events and activities and they share their news about family, growing up and also share personal Stolen Generation stories.”

Reconciliation Week
Indigenous students Lucinda Long, Noah Peters, Addisyn Graham and Shari Holden with teacher Miss Lotoya Long.

To find out more about what St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School has been up to visit the Facebook page here.

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