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Indigenous Culture Enriches New Educator Experience

28 Jan 2020

Indigenous Culture Enriches New Educator Experience

A whole day was dedicated to Cultural Integrity workshops at the New Educator Induction this week.

These sessions encapsulated the Directorate’s vision for Reconciliation and Cultural Integrity in ACT public schools to genuinely and collaboratively foster meaningful partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians based on respect, trust, relationships and opportunities.

Participants heard a story from the Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Pat Chapman whose Grandfather was one of the first Aboriginal people in NSW to become a qualified teacher and the first Aboriginal person to be appointed school principal.

Ngunnawal elder, Caroline Hughes gave an insight into the revitalisation of the local language providing educators with the gift of a greeting word in language as well as a farewell.

Yuma [pronounced: yooma], a word for hello, and taken from the word for welcome Yumalundi [pronounced: yoomaloondi] and the word Yarra, for goodbye.

“As we grew up, language was to be kept a secret to keep us safe because they took children away if you spoke the language,” Caroline Hughes said.

“I am so proud and honoured to be able to share our language with everyone.”

New Educators joined in enthusiastically developing sentences in Ngunnawal language with some  asking if they could use Yuma in their classroom – a request that was warmly welcomed.

Participants then engaged in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sports - the running and ball passing game, Buroinjin was a great hit - and art workshops including weaving and painting.

The day was a positive and enriching example of ‘living culture’.