Staff and students kicked off NAIDOC Week celebrations with a welcome to country ceremony/liturgy at Mother Teresa School
WITH NAIDOC Week falling during the school holidays, many of our community of schools marked the celebrations upon returning to school.
At Mother Teresa School, Ormeau, staff organised a week of activities that recognised, acknowledged and celebrated the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The school’s week-long activities showcased numerous aspects of First Nations cultures and heritage through performing arts, traditional foods, arts and crafts.
Assistant Principal for Religious Education Ben Torenbeek said it was important for the school to celebrate NAIDOC Week, as it helped build bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Ben said NAIDOC Week was something the school valued very strongly.
He said the school was in the process of activating its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and the committee members were very passionate about ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were recognised.
“We have a number of students at the school who identify as Aboriginal and it’s important we recognise them as part of our community,” Ben said.
“Our celebrations are very inclusive,” he said.
Ben said the school, which was named in honour of Mother Teresa of Calcutta; whose life was dedicated to the betterment of others, had a philosophy to offer help to those that were suffering injustice in society generally, and the school wanted to be part of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
To kick off the week-long celebrations and activities the school invited local Indigenous wildlife ranger, and friend to the school, Clinton Brewer, to help with a welcome to country ceremony/special liturgy.
Clinton, who was very passionate about his community, and passing on his people’s stories, brought some ochre to paint the students and staff’ faces before running some activities in classrooms.
He explained the importance of the welcome to country ceremony to Aboriginal culture, spoke to the students in his native language and explained the significance of face painting in the welcome ceremony.
Ben said it was always great to have Clinton visit as the students loved listening to his stories and seeing the animals he worked with as an Indigenous Ranger for the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
He said other activities during the week included boomerang and clap stick decorating, storytelling, dot painting and an opportunity to taste some bush tucker at a special whole-school barbeque that featured kangaroo and crocodile.
“We had lots of activities running throughout the week,” Ben said.
“We also provided plenty of resources for our teachers and invited some special guest speakers to come to the school and talk to the staff and students about NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation.
He said the decorated clap sticks also featured at a whole school assembly at the end of the week as part of songs the students learned during music lessons.
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
243 Gladstone Road, Dutton Park Q 4102
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
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