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Whole School

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER – STRENGTH IN CULTURAL IDENTITY

St Michael’s College acknowledges the Kaurna people as the keepers of ancient knowledge where our campuses have been built and whose cultures and customs continue to nurture this land. We also acknowledge the cultural diversity of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay respect to Elders’ past, present and future. Finally, we celebrate the continuous living cultures of First Australians and acknowledge the important contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have, and continue to make, in Australian society.

Acknowledgment of Country is a return to a traditional custom and this recognition is a very important way to provide certainty to the whole community regarding who the traditional owners of the land are.

  • When and where have you heard an acknowledgment?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • Do you know the difference between a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgment of country?

At assemblies, important meetings and gatherings, this acknowledgement is now part of what we do at St Michael’s College, but this is just one part of a complex and crucial part of our role as educators.

We are taking care and time to develop a whole school Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and we will engage and learn with our indigenous community members in a meaningful way to ensure we are truly working towards reconciliation.

Another way we can make a difference is by ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives are embedded in the curriculum and implementing an inclusive pedagogy. Across both campuses, we are endeavoring to improve, and all staff are embarking on professional development through an organisation called Your MOB learning. At the Primary Campus we will also be working with the Tjindu Foundation on various activities for staff and students alike.

We will begin with raising our cultural knowledge and awareness, and we will continue this process because as teachers we know that it is fundamental to improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s outcomes, as it is for other minority groups within Australian society.

“We should have pride in our culture, our families, our ancestors and knowledge systems. In knowing the land and the sky and the waterways in beautiful innate detail. In knowing how to go slow and silent” (Gilbey, 2018).

Check out the following Acknowledgment of Country that Reception students and our Nunga group developed in 2021.

And I leave you with this question for all of us:

“What were you taught about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in your schooling?”

When we embrace the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective, we paint the whole picture for future generations to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is respected and celebrated with the pride it deserves within the Australian community.

Teachers and parents working together can change the future. This is one way we can all help close the gap.

IMPORTANT DATES:
National Close the Gap Day – 17 March 2022
Reconciliation Action Week – 23 May – 3 June 2022

Ms Kate Tyrwhitt, Art & Design Teacher and Indigenous Education Focus Teacher – Primary

References
https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/professional-learning/scan/past-issues/vol-39-2020/cultural-competency–reconciliation-in-action
https://usq.pressbooks.pub/openingeyes/chapter/662/

NATIONAL CLOSE THE GAP DAY AT THE SECONDARY CAMPUS

On Thursday 17 March, the College joined together to raise awareness for National Close The Gap Day. All pastoral classes received information about what NCTGD, means and the importance of addressing the need for healthy living and good choices for all. Indigenous people, on average, live 10 years less than other Australians. We took this opportunity to raise awareness of this issue and to show support for our Indigenous Community at the College. Staff gathered for a Morning Tea and shared some Indigenous Food supplied by “Something Wild” (The Motlop Family) and discussed the importance of “Closing the Gap”, as it relates to Indigenous Health.