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St Michael's brings NAIDOC Week to life

From classrooms to the playground to the hall, there has been plenty happening to mark NAIDOC Week at St Michael's Nowra, as we come together to celebrate the invaluable contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made – and continue to make – to our community, our families, our rich history and to our nation.

NAIDOC Week invites all Australians to walk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a movement of the nation. This year’s theme was ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth - Let’s Work Together for a Shared Future’. The theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are still campaigning for an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy; our various First Nations’ desires for lasting and effective agreements such as treaties, which cannot be achieved unless we have a shared, truthful understanding.

During the week, our whole school community came together for a special assembly, including Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP.

It was a great event with lots of performances by students, and even a special performance by Principal, Chris Paton and teacher, Natalie Rojas, singing the old classic ‘Solid Rock’ [pictured below] – a song that deals with issues of land rights for Indigenous Australians.

“What an inspiring NAIDOC assembly, with so much beautiful Indigenous dancing, music and readings. A real credit to students, local Elders, teachers, and everyone involved - our future is in great hands” — Fiona Phillips MP, Federal Member for Gilmore 

NAIDOC events in our Catholic schools, which involve students of all ages and backgrounds, are symbolic as they acknowledge that, across the diocese, schools walk together in reconciliation. “I am often the voice for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families and carers, and often I carry the voice of some of our Elders,” said Professional Officer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Karan Taylor. 

“As a diocese we are very proud to say that we have over 20 Aboriginal people employed who are also a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” 

“We still have a way to go in Closing the Gap and can always do better. But it is important we listen with both ears to our Aboriginal family’s voices of what their needs are, and to look at how we can continue to support them to the best of our ability to improve their children's educational outcomes and wellbeing.”

St Michael's was one of several CEDoW schools that celebrated NAIDOC Week. Read more from across the diocese here.