NAIDOC week celebrations at Ss Peter and Paul

DSCN1955Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary school marked the beginning of NAIDOC week with a traditional smoking ceremony led by Uncle Gee (Gerald Brown), a local Indigenous Elder.

Elliot Stewart played the didgeridoo adding an extra cultural element to the ceremony and local Aboriginal elders supported the school in acknowledging this most significant celebration.

Uncle Gee commented that the event was ‘about sharing Indigenous culture’ and that the children would benefit greatly from seeing such a ceremony.

Following the ceremony the school captains led the school in a liturgy where the well renowned school choir, led by Ms Marianne Patton, sang the National anthem in the Dharawal language.

The children participated in Indigenous games organized by our Aboriginal Education Assistant, Josephine Ball and then as a finale to the cultural activities each class made their own Songline.

Songlines: The living narrative of our nation was the theme for NAIDOC this year. The school, together with the parent community, came up with the idea that the children could create their own songline, similar to the artwork by Wiradjuri woman Lani Balzan, the winning entry for this year’s NAIDOC poster.

Each class discussed how they could best represent their story using natural materials such as sand, pebbles, mulch and bark
and with assistance from Burnett’s on Barney and Bunnings Shellharbour.

The basketball court became the Ss Peter and Paul songlines.

The activities organised for the day provided an opportunity to truly immerse the children in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture and an deepen their awareness of the contributions that the Indigenous Australians make to our country and society.

Report by Michelle Heffernan, Middle Leader and Year 2 teacher


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