Since 2014 Bellambi Public School and local Aboriginal Elders, Uncle Richard Archibald and Aunty Sharralyn Robinson along with the local community have celebrated National Reconciliation Week by hosting the Walk for Reconciliation. This event is usually attended by approx 2000 students, staff and community members. Sadly due to COVID-19 this event is postponed.
This year we have been innovative and creative to continue to celebrate Reconciliation and connect our students with one another, the staff and Aboriginal Elders.
The 2020 theme for National Reconciliation Week is ‘In this Together’. The Aboriginal Education Team ensured that the focus and importance of reconciliation wasn’t forgotten during this unusual time, here is where the team brought the Reconciliation Virtual Choir Project to life. Inspired by an idea originally from the ABC network, during our Phase 1 return to one face-to-face school day the students and staff have taken part in singing the chorus to ‘I am Australian’ as part of the virtual choir. Continuing our connection to Elders, Aunty Sharralyn Robinson has taken part in the project and shared her voice with us, sending a message of reconciliation and recording the vocals to the one key verse. Our Reconciliation Week project wouldn’t be complete without an introduction by Uncle Richard Archibald, the founder of the Walk for Reconciliation. Both Elders recognise and support the school’s commitment to Aboriginal Education and Reconciliation.
This year our celebration of Aboriginal culture will be embedded into our classrooms through a series of stories written by Aboriginal authors and read to our students via a recording of each of the Bellambi Public School Executive team.
by CORAL VASS & DUB LEFFLER
Sorry Day is a powerful and important picture book because it will help children to understand the grief of the children who were taken from their homes. And the importance of saying sorry.
Two inextricably connected stories entwine in this story of the day when then Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd formally said ‘sorry’ on behalf of the Australian government over the Stolen Generations. In the present a young girl named Maggie and her mother are waiting with thousands of others who have gathered to hear the apology, while in the past young children are being taken away from their homes and families and culture.
Read by Ryan Filippi (Assistant Principal)
Stories for Simon
by Lisa Miranda Sarzin & Lauren Briggs
A beautiful story of acknowledging the past and working together for a brighter future. When Simon unwraps a beautiful boomerang wrapped in an old newspaper, he learns of the national apology to the Stolen Generations. Who were the Stolen Generations and how can saying ‘sorry’ help? Through a new friendship and a magnificent collection of stories, Simon gains a deep appreciation of the past and a positive vision for the future.
Read by Michelle Sotiros (School Principal)
Bush Tracks (K-2) by Ros Moriarty
All learning begins with the land. It is vital that students learn to identify with and understand the particular 'country' (part of Australia) in which they live. From this we move outwards to learn about our history, and our individual place in our community.
Read by Chris Johnson (Instructional Leader)
Fair Skin Black Fella (3-6)
by Renee Fogorty
This is the story of Mary, a young Aboriginal girl who lives on a red and dusty cattle station. Shunned by the other girls because of her fair skin, Old Ned, one of the community elders, finally speaks up. With words full of knowledge and wisdom, he teaches the girls that Aboriginal identity transcends skin colour and that family, community, country, culture and spirituality is what being Aboriginal is really about.
Renee Fogorty shows that prejudice has no boundaries and that it occurs within and between cultural groups. Her personal perspective makes Fair Skin Black Fella a tale of universal experience that many young readers will identify with.