In This Together – National Reconciliation Week across CEWA

07 June 2020

Students and staff at Catholic schools across WA found different opportunities to reflect on the theme ‘In This Together’ throughout National Reconciliation Week this year. 

Ahead of the start of National Reconciliation Week is Sorry Day, on 26 May, which was a time for CEWA students to learn about the Stolen Generations, and the resilience of Aboriginal people who have lived through the separation of their families. 

Students at Holy Rosary School in Derby were able to hear stories of tragedy, strength and courage directly from two special guests, Mr Ross and Mr Lovell. 

The two men told of their own experiences of being taken away from their families – a powerful lesson for all students and staff. 

Special guests Mr Ross and Mr Lovell speak with students at Holy Rosary School in Derby on National Sorry Day

St Dominic’s School Year 3 students led a prayer service for Sorry Day, streaming it into classrooms across the school for all students and staff to participate. 

Among the National Reconciliation Week activities for Newman College was the launch of the College’s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which outlines goals for up-skilling staff with stronger understandings and appreciation for Aboriginal peoples, cultures and communities, as well as for designing places in the College that are culturally engaging, in partnership with Whadjuk Noongar people. 

The RAP was launched via a live-streamed event with Noongar singer-songwriter Phil Walley-Stack, with more than 2000 people tuning in. 

The College’s RAP goes hand in hand with their commitment to ensuring that teaching and learning programs are embedded with Aboriginal learning outcomes.

At Our Lady of Lourdes School in Dardanup, Year 6 students took their learnings around Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week to create informative posters, looking at key events and issues impacting on the reconciliation process from Australia’s history since colonisation. 

In the weeks prior to National Reconciliation Week, Aboriginal Teaching Assistants at Luurnpa Catholic School, with the support of community Elders, placed all of the school’s staff into skin groups. 

Staff now start meetings in family groups: sisters, brothers and cousins, which feeds into the school’s Term Two culture theme of ‘Waltja-Relationships’, with students learning about the importance of relationships to family, country, community, animals and plants. 

Elders continued to be involved throughout National Reconciliation Week, visiting the school to lead songs in Kukatja language and taking students to an on-Country excursion. 

School staff led prayers and reflections during the week, with a prayer for the Stolen Generations on Sorry Day, a reflection on the 1967 referendum the following day, and a reflection on Mabo Day remembering Eddie Mabo and the relationship all Aboriginal people have with the land. 

Year 8 Humanities students at Sacred Heart College were able to connect with members in Wujal Wujal, Far North Queensland, via a video call. 

The call was a great opportunity for the students to gain insights into the culture of the Kuku Yalanji, Kuku Nyungul and Jalunji people of area, and learn about life on the opposite corner of Australia in Queensland’s Cape York region.  


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