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National Reconciliation Week

Lisa Dann (Aboriginal Liaisons Officer)

Last week, Kolbe College joined the nation in commemorating National Reconciliation Week, an annual event with the 2024 theme “Now More Than Ever.” This important week, observed from May 27 to June 3, marks two significant milestones: the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. It is a time for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to come together in a spirit of truth, justice, and reconciliation.

Kolbe College began Reconciliation Week by coming together as a community to decorate a tree with purple flowers, acknowledging National Sorry Day, which falls on the eve of Reconciliation Week. This tree serves as a poignant reminder of the strength of Stolen Generation survivors and the mistreatment endured by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forcibly removed from their families and communities.

“This tree is a reminder for the week that this Reconciliation Week, may we respect each other, listen to each other, and understand each other’s ways of life, and may we smile from our hearts.”

Our Year 9 students were invited to attend a Kings Park service to commemorate Indigenous war veterans. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the event has been postponed to a later date. Despite this, the spirit of commemoration remains strong among our students.

A highlight of the week was the participation of Kolbe’s Indigenous students from Years 10, 11, and 12 in the UWA Indigenous Schools Cup, hosted by the University of Western Australia and UWA Sport. This event provided a fantastic opportunity for our students to compete in a round-robin tournament across three sports alongside students from four other schools, running concurrently with the university’s intervarsity Indigenous Cup.

The day began with a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony. Mr. Richard Walley, UWA’s Elder in Residence, explained the significance of the location and its cultural importance. Mr. Jonathon Ford then led the Smoking Ceremony, warmly welcoming everyone to the event.

Before lunch, students attended a presentation on future pathways and the support available through UWA’s School of Indigenous Studies. This informative session highlighted the university’s commitment to supporting Indigenous students in their academic and personal journeys.

“The UWA Indigenous Sports Day was an awesome experience where we got to compete with other schools, hang out, eat, and play sports. It was really fun and overall a great day. Thanks to Mr. Walker and Mrs. Dann for making the day enjoyable.” – Jacob, Year 12

National Reconciliation Week at Kolbe College was a meaningful and enriching experience, reinforcing the importance of coming together, respecting each other, and acknowledging the past as we work towards a more inclusive and just future.

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