This theme celebrates the significant part that First Nations women play as role models in the community.
The Year 5 students, from 11 Darebin primary and two secondary schools including public, Catholic and independent schools, all came together to learn about Aboriginal history and culture.
The day was a cultural feast for all who attended, with more than 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, educators, activists, artists and elders sharing their wisdom and skill with the students.
Activities included nine concurrent and interactive cultural, sporting and storytelling workshops. Students participated in workshops that included Wurundjeri dance, games, traditional crafts, the history and culture of yarning, media, and creating art on the Because of Her, We Can theme.
Highlights included a session with Wurundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy, who read from her beautifully written and illustrated book, Welcome to Country, and a smoking ceremony facilitated by Uncle Trevor Gallagher who spoke to the students about the meaning of fire and smoke to the Aboriginal community.
Olympic legend Nova Peris, Ambassador of The Long Walk, also led a little Long Walk for the students on Sir Douglas Nicholls Oval. The little Long Walk was to commemorate Michael Long’s 2004 walk from Melbourne to Canberra to meet with the then Prime Minister about the things that are important to Aboriginal people.
Mayor of Darebin, Cr Kim Le Cerf, said the students all walked in the same spirit as Michael did on his journey to advocate that Aboriginal people be treated with fairness and respect like all Australians.“The purpose of the day was to recognise and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have made a difference to the lives and experiences of Aboriginal people and who have inspired others to be strong and to stand up for one another,” said Cr Le Cerf.
The students heard many stories of resilience, strength and determination about mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters and daughters who did not stop fighting for their families and their culture. Feedback from the children ranged from how great lunch on the oval was, to excitement about getting to play a didijeridoo and learning dance moves such as the ‘platypus’ and the ‘emu’.
The idea for the Yarning Conference originated through the Darebin Education Committee and was developed by a working group which included Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal educators from schools, DET, and Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI).
For the past three years, Council has worked on a range of ongoing initiatives to promote the teaching and learning of Darebin Aboriginal history and culture across Darebin schools.
“Council believes that the rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture is important for us all to understand and celebrate,” said Cr Le Cerf.
Media Release: 2 November