Reconciliation week

This may well be one of the most significant Reconciliation weeks in Australian History. With the new government change, Anthony Albonese and Penny Wong’s first comments after becoming Prime Minister / Foreign Minister was to acknowledge First Nations People and mention their intentions of endorsing the Uluru Statement From The Heart. This was a promising sign First Nations People will be recognised in the Constitution, have a voice in Parliament and a Makarrata will be created. This year we did a range of activities (listed below) to bring awareness to Reconciliation and the significance of the Uluru Statement From the Heart.

  • Welcome to Country / Mural

This wonderful Mural that you can see on the side of the Hall near the entrance to the school has been 2 years in the making. Claire Sleeman has worked tirelessly and had many obstacles in her way to secure Kaitlyn who is an Arakwal First Nations Person. Kaitlyn did a wonderful Welcome to country in language and some teachers described her talking to the students as the most meaningful stories we have heard. Kaitlyn talked of significant and sacred sites around the Byron Shire and talked of her family and connection to Cabbage Tree Island mission where a lot of her family lived. Painting the Mural was a busy but beautiful two days where Claire coordinated as many students as possible to participate in painting the mural. The design of the mural represents the merging of the land and the ocean. The large carpet python represents the totem of Kaitlyn’s great grandfather, the dolphin represents the ancestors of the Arakwal women. The central organic lines and dotes are the river systems that flow through this land. The sun is the energy force for all life and the horseshoe shapes are people sitting on the Earth.  A huge acknowledgement to Claire for all her hard work to get this project off the ground.

  • Uluru Statement from the Heart

Students read the Uluru Statement From the Heart in year levels and discussed how it was composed, what it means and what the significance is. Find out more about the Uluru Statement.

  • Welcome to Country

In Guardian this week, Students watched a TED talk on Jade Kennedy talking about Welcome to Country and the significant of it (watch it here). Students had fruitful discussions within their classes discussing what the video was about. It is a powerful video that gives some insights into what his people have experienced and you can’t help left feeling with Empathy for First Nations People.

  • Flag Raising Ceremony

Last year, some of you might have noticed 3 new flag poles erected in the carpark. Our Reconciliation Action Plan Committee recognised the old flag pole held the Australian Flag higher than the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Flags and we felt this didn’t sit well with the values we were trying to portray at CBRSS. The school invested in 3 flag poles of equal height and on Tuesday morning Paddy Innes-Hill led the high school in a Flag Raising Ceremony discussing different flag protocols and the symbolic meaning of flying the flags.

  • Culturally Safe Libraries Program

I would like to introduce to you how our school library at CBRSS responds to creating a culturally inclusive space and contributing to achieving reconciliation. Firstly our library responds to and is implementing the Culturally Safe Libraries Program, the process has started and will be implemented across the collection. AUSTLANG Protocol 5  is recognised and used in our library where possible. Protocol 5 is about how collection content by and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is described and classified in our catalogues and library management systems.

So what is a culturally safe library?

“A library that provides an environment that is emotionally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; where people feel supported, can express themselves and their culture, history and identity with dignity and pride. An environment which fosters shared respect, meaning, knowledge and an opportunity to learn together without judgement.”

  1. In our school library this means being sensitive as to how books are catalogued and shelved.
  2. That indigenous peoples are widely represented across the collection and available for teachers and students to access from Kindergarten to Year 12, as picture books and teaching resources.

Resources and display for Reconciliation Week 2022 – some books from our collection on display this week.
Charlotte, from the CBRSS Library