MSJ Celebrates NAIDOC Week

July 27, 2017

This year, MSJ celebrated NAIDOC Week with the help of a very distinguished guest. Uncle Harry Allie and his wife Beverly (grandparents of Sienna in Year 7) honoured us by attending the assembly and sharing their experiences.

Uncle Harry, an elder of the Gudjala tribal group in the Charters Towers area, is a decorated veteran, member of many Aboriginal Advisory committees and winner of the 2014 Citizen of the Year award from Western Sydney University. In an interview with Year 11 student Aimee D., Uncle Harry reflected on his childhood and advocated education, community recognition and constitutional change as the way forward for reconciliation.

“What makes me so proud of my Aboriginal culture is that our stories, way before the days of ipads and computers, have been passed down through the elders to the younger generation over so many thousands of years. It is particularly special when I go back to country and hear the stories of the sacred sites and places of my childhood.”

The Kennedy family at our NAIDOC lunch.

The NAIDOC ceremony was convened by the MSJ Aboriginal Culture Group and their mentor, Mrs McGing. It was wonderful to hear the Culture Group members reflect on the personal meaning of their heritage as well as the importance of indigenous languages – the theme of this year’s celebrations.

Fewer than 120 of the more than 250 Aboriginal languages originally found in Australia remain ‘alive’ today. During our assembly we were privileged to hear from the students who visited Warmun last week and learned a few words of the Kija language from the students and community members there. With less than 100 native speakers of Kija remaining today, it is a very special to learn this language with the locals, and is essential to strengthen links between the elders and young Kija people in order to keep this language alive.

We are most grateful not only to Mr and Mrs Allie but to all the family members and who enriched our NAIDOC celebrations by attending the assembly and sharing lunch with us.

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