Always Was, Always Will Be was the overarching theme for NAIDOC Week 2020 – an opportunity for us to share with the children and young adults in our care that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
The Shearwater school community came together to acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be spiritually and culturally connected to this country.
What does culture mean for us today was the question posed by our guides, Mudjai and Djuaan. Key themes emerged based on connection to the land and the seasons, our shared caring for place, and a deepening of the understanding that the very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples. With these themes as a thread, the entire school embarked on a week of creativity, sharing in the realms of painting, singing, storytelling and dance.
A whole school gathering at the beginning of the week set a reverent and respectful tone, as a rainbow serpent of children, led by the Shearwater Kinship group, weaved through the School bringing everyone together. A fire lit in the amphitheatre would burn for the entire week until the whole school gathered again on Friday to present their artistic offerings and dance up the energy shared over a week of creative collaboration.
Children from early childhood through to the young adults of Year 11 honoured the First Nations custodians of this place as misty rain added to an atmosphere of respect and hope. Finally, the rain, the seasons, the water ways, the ocean and the creatures sustained by these sacred systems unique to this place were celebrated in dance and song in a cacophony of rhythm and exuberance.
Shearwater Mirrabooka Group