This week, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta schools celebrated the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Rescheduled due to COVID-19, NAIDOC Week events included smoking ceremonies, an all-schools dance lesson streamed through YouTube and the virtual Murama Indigenous Youth Summit.
The theme for the week is Always Was. Always Will Be. Executive Director Greg Whitby said it is important to acknowledge that Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land.
“This is all about justice for Australia’s First Nations people,” Greg said. “We’re working together for better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people through education.”
NAIDOC celebrations were led by the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) Jarara Indigenous Education Unit. On Monday 9 November, St Canice’s Primary Katoomba hosted a full day of celebrations. Darug Elders Uncle Lex and Uncle Chris Tobin led a smoking ceremony that included a Darug song and flag-raising ceremony.
The Jarara team led by Leading Teacher Student Services Julie Waddell, a proud woman of Kamilaroi descent, then worked with students at St Joseph’s Primary Kingswood on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Year 9 students at St Luke’s Catholic College Marsden Park prepared NAIDOC Week activities for younger students.
The big event for Thursday, based at Holy Family Primary Emerton, was ‘Deadly Moves’. All schools were invited to join a YouTube Livestream of Darren & Jacs Compton as seen on NITV (National Indigenous Television) ‘Move it Mob Style’, teaching some ‘Deadly’ dance moves for all ages. ‘Deadly’ is a word that means great in Aboriginal English.
Students also participated in the Murama Indigenous Youth Summit online. This annual event is a resilience-based cultural intervention program which is based on the strengths of Aboriginal culture with a strong focus on healing.
As part of its commitment to justice for Australia’s First Nations peoples, CEDP is developing its first Reconciliation Action Plan. In 2022, CEDP will also host the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Conference.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.