It's NAIDOC Week this week, and although the official week falls during Australian school holidays, plenty of schools across the country are geared up to celebrate in a variety of ways.
This year's theme, Voice. Treaty. Truth., focuses on Indigenous voice in Australia, particularly through Indigenous language, and represents three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Through the events page on the official NAIDOC Week website and the multiple classroom resources available – there are plenty of sources of inspiration out there to assist teachers in engaging students in NAIDOC Week celebrations.
Gathering the school community
One school in New South Wales has a packed schedule for this year's NAIDOC Week. Windale Public School, about 15 kilometres from Newcastle, has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student population of about 35 per cent. The Relieving Aboriginal Education Officer, Belinda Schueppenhauer, says they've commemorated NAIDOC Week at the P-6 school for as long as she can remember.
‘It just gets bigger and bigger each year,' Shuepennhauer says. ‘And always the activities offered are always different, just depending on the theme of the year.'
A key part of their annual celebrations is extending the invitation to parents and members of the wider community to attend, and getting the local high schools to join in on the activities too. Schueppenhauer says this reflects the school's ethos of being deeply community oriented.
‘Our school always has an open door policy to the community. They're always welcomed into our school, no matter what,' she says
Planning for NAIDOC Day at Windale Public School begins in Term 2. Crucially, this planning phase involves holding community meetings, so community members can give their input and the decisions for the day's celebrations can be made together.
To reflect Voice. Treaty. Truth., the morning session of NAIDOC Day at the school will be filled with speeches from staff and community members, including a Newcastle Knights rugby player and an Acknowledgement of Country delivered by the pre-schoolers under the guidance of a local community member.
Students will also participate in workshops in bush tucker, artefacts, dance, boomerangs and ochre, as well as learning to weave their own bracelets as taught by a parent at the school.
Celebrating NAIDOC week in all classrooms
This year, SBS have developed a comprehensive range of teaching resources to inspire or complement your NAIDOC Week teaching. Separate resources for primary and secondary educators were created in partnership with the National NAIDOC Committee, and they're all freely available.
For each year level, the resource supplies educators with discussion questions, activities, an extension activity and useful links to external information.
Lesson ideas are presented for each of the three elements of the theme, and subject-specific activity suggestions are also offered. For example, the resource suggests that students in Year 8 could explore the Voice element of the theme by discussing what the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names in their area mean and what this tells them about the place they live.
Do are you celebrating NAIDOC Week at your school? Who is involved in organising the activities? How do you ensure your celebrations are closely tied to the different themes of each year?
For more information about NAIDOC Week, and links to events in your area, visit naidoc.org.au.