To mark National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week our AEW, Jodie Bourke organised a visiting speaker who presented to all children this morning. Mark Champley is a Kamilaroi, Wiradjuri man who has lived on Darkinjung country for more than 20 years. Mark sits on the Reconciliation advisory board for Transport NSW and has a great deal of knowledge on this topic. He outlined in an appropriate way the reason we acknowledge reconciliation week and what we can do as a school community to contribute. He also did a little bit of storytelling about the local area history and the land the children go to school on and the importance of caring for country and teach them a couple of words in language from his nation.
National Sorry Day, which was last Wednesday is a day to remember the suffering and grief experienced due to the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families and communities from the earliest days of European occupation of Australia. National Reconciliation Week (May 27th – June 3rd) follows immediately after National Sorry Day. The theme this year is: ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.’
Mark has left with us some decorated bike helmets and some decorated geometry sets. I have invited the students to write or draw what they can do to take action as it states in the theme. The main message of what we discussed was that the first action we could do is to learn more about the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.
The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry of Victoria has prepared the following Reconciliation Week Prayer
Holy Father, God of Love, You are the Creator of this land and all good things. We acknowledge the pain and shame of our history and the suffering of our peoples. Lord Have Mercy
Holy Father, God of Love, We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures. Our hope is in you because your son Jesus Christ came to reconcile the world to you. Christ Have Mercy
Holy Father, God of Love, Teach us to respect all cultures. Help us to bring about spiritual and social change. Lord Have Mercy
Sr Caroline Vaitkunas is part of the Peace, Ecology and Justice Team at St Columban’s, Essendon.