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NAIDOC Celebrations With Our Students Continue…

September 4, 2021

NAIDOC celebrations continued at our partner schools throughout the month of August, with our staff having the pleasure of joining in at Mazenod College, Christ Church Grammar School, Hale School, Prendiville Catholic College, Scotch College & Penrhos College.

Hale School students kicked off the NAIDOC celebrations for the month with our staff joining in for their whole school assembly on Monday 2nd August. The assembly started with MADALAH students Conrad & Daithi speaking very confidently about where they come from and what this year’s theme of Heal Country meant to them. The official Welcome to Country was performed by respected Nyoongar Elder Uncle Shaun Nannup, who delivered a very strong and challenging message for everybody in the room. His message to everyone was, “regardless of your background and where you come from, we all need to embrace the idea of Healing Country and walk together as one and that we are all a part of the journey of Australia’s future.” He then called upon the spirits of our ancestors before us, to guide us on this journey and bless us.

This was followed with a performance by hip hop artist Josh Eggington (AKA Flewnt) who performed his version of the 1980’s song Blackboy by the band Coloured Stone. He was joined on stage by members of Hale School’s Aboriginal dance group.

On Wednesday 4th August, the MADALAH team attended the NAIDOC assembly at Mazenod College WA. The assembly started with the Mazenod choir singing the National Anthem in Noongar language, followed by year 12 student Keegan who spoke beautifully about his journey to Mazenod and what the NAIDOC theme Heal Country means to him. A video was also played during the assembly which saw the boys share their experiences and talk about what NAIDOC means to each of them.

The boys have also recorded a podcast titled ‘Welcome to my Country’ where 4 of them each feature in an episode and talk about their identity and their culture. It was great to share this occasion with the students and our team enjoyed speaking to the boys afterwards over morning tea.

That night, MADALAH staff also had the privilege of attending Christ Church Grammar School to celebrate their NAIDOC through the opening of their Totem Trail.

Thirteen young men were involved in an art project to each design a Totem shield. The boys identified objects, plants and animals to use as emblems and tell a story. The shields were made from Marri wood and the boys used carving and burning techniques to etch their design onto the wood. Each of the shields made by the boys will then be used to mark locations along the Totem trail; from the river at the back of the school right through to the front entrance of the school.

The Totem shields represent protection of the land, plants, animals and the people who occupy the land. This trail is something the boys can come back to visit in years to come, long after they have left the school. It is something they can be proud of, knowing that they were a part of its creation.

On Thursday 5th August, MADALAH staff attended Prendiville Catholic College for their NAIDOC week celebration. Prendiville’s NAIDOC week was a celebration of all Indigenous students and cultures, with a special ceremony dedicated to Torres Strait Islander culture, acknowledging their student Siahn, who proudly raised the Torres Strait Islander flag for the first time at the school. Seeing a young strong individual like Siahn speak up about having something during NAIDOC week that represents her mob was so special to us.

Following the flag raising ceremony, MADALAH staff joined the school community for traditional food such as Emu, Kangaroo and Crocodile.

On Friday 6th August, the MADALAH team had the pleasure of attending the NAIDOC assembly at Scotch College Perth. Nyoongar elders, Prof Simon Forrest and Neville Collard were in attendance and spoke about the NAIDOC week theme ‘Heal Country’. Neville prepared a smoking ceremony for the whole school to march through as he delivered the welcome to country. Both Simon and Neville spoke significantly about acknowledging our history as a tool to help us heal as a country and how that will ultimately promote reconciliation, “if we heal the land, we heal the people too”.

We also heard from two of our MADALAH scholars, Jett and William, who answered questions about their culture and identity, where they come from and the difference between their life at Scotch and living at home.

To finish of the month, MADALAH Staff had the pleasure of attending Penrhos College’s opening assembly for their NAIDOC week celebrations. It was amazing to see all the achievements of the Ngala Maya and Reconciliation Groups at the college, with special congratulations to Bel Cox and the Ngala Maya group for their breathtaking dance performance.

It was a beautiful celebration and we were so proud of our Penrhos College girls!

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