Schools celebrate Indigenous contributions

NAIDOC Week celebrations at Mary Immaculate Catholic Parish Primary School in Eagle Vale (CEDOW)

Catholic schools in the Wollongong Diocese have celebrated the invaluable contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made to their school communities, families and the nation. Source: CEDOW.

With more than 700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in Catholic schools across the diocese, enthusiastic participants celebrated NAIDOC Week last month.

This year’s theme was “Voice, Treaty, Truth – Let’s Work Together for a Shared Future”. It signifies three key elements of the reforms set out in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart that represents the unified position of First Nations Australians.

The 2019 theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are campaigning for an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy; our various First Nations’ desires for lasting and effective agreements such as treaties.

Catholic Education Office hosted a NAIDOC gathering, with students from St John’s Catholic Parish Primary School in Dapto performing traditional dances. The event, which involved students of all ages and backgrounds, was symbolic as it acknowledged that, across the diocese, schools walk together in reconciliation.

Karan Taylor is Catholic Education’s professional officer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

“I am often the voice for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families and carers, and often I carry the voice of some of our elders,” Ms Taylor said.

“As a diocese we are very proud to say that we have over 20 Aboriginal people employed who are also a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We still have a way to go in Closing the Gap and can always do better. But it is important we listen with both ears to our Aboriginal families' voices of what their needs are, and to look at how we can continue to support them to the best of our ability to improve their children's educational outcomes and wellbeing.”

Yarning Circle | CEDOW Schools Bring NAIDOC Week 2019 to Life (Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong)

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