Reconciliation Week 2020
During Week Five and Six Australia celebrates National Reconciliation Week which is a time to reflect on our shared histories and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The 2020 theme ‘In This Together’ reinforces that we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.
At the Senior Campus, Campus Ministry’s weekly Chapel service featured Kaurna elder Ivan Copley perform a Smoking Ceremony as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Australian flags were raised. Traditionally, the Smoking Ceremony was used to welcome people to country but it also has cleansing powers; getting rid of bad spirits, bad energy and creating good spirit.
The liturgy also featured Year 12 student Rachel Hay’s Reconciliation Homily that aptly connected Reconciliation Australia and the Catholic Church’s concepts of reconciliation. To quote Rachel, “To be successful, Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples requires an authentic acknowledgement and confession of sin from non-Indigenous peoples, and true forgiveness from Indigenous peoples….. reconciliation is an act of unifying and coming together through the creation meaningful bonds and relationships. We cannot undo the past, but we must do everything we can now and in the future to heal the fractures that history dealt our country. I hope that one day in Australia, people are not seen for their colour or their race, but for their character.”
Campus Ministry also played a significant part in producing the school’s reconciliation banners that pays homage to Kaurna elder, Uncle Neville and Year 8 student Anton Fallo’s indigenous guernsey.
Above: Saint Ignatius’ College Reconciliation Banner
In Pastoral Care lessons, HGT led an exploration of Reconciliation Australia’s five dimensions of reconciliation: historical acceptance, race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity and unity. These five dimensions do not exist in isolation but are interrelated and while Years 7-11 focussed on a specific dimension, Year 12 weaved all of the threads together. Gauging student feedback the highlight of the Pastoral presentation was the student responses when asked to share their understanding of reconciliation.
However, Reconciliation Week has also been a time for staff to deepen their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culture with staff using the weeks to reengage with Indigenous literature, film and art.
At its core reconciliation is about building respectful relationships between First Nations people and the wider Australian community. At Saint Ignatius’ College, we believe that if we mobilise our students to develop respectful relationships through conversation and education, we can influence and build opportunities for shared understanding, healing, growth and better life outcomes.
Mr Chris Toome
Indigenous Education Coordinator