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Wednesday, June 4th 2014

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Student Article for Reconciliation/Sorry Week

Student Article for Reconciliation/Sorry Week

Written by Henry Farnham, Year 9

Sorry Day is an annual event held on 26 May since 1997. Its sole purpose is to remember and recognize the Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generation.

On Sorry Day, myself, the Year 9 Guild Representatives, together with Mr Grose and Miss Sidaway made our way into East Perth for the Sorry Day Fair. As we signed in, we were handed some booklets that had a list of activities we had to complete at the Fair. We were informed that if we completed an activity that our booklet would get stamped and that if we got all of our activities stamped then we would earn a prize at the end. So we all split up into groups to complete the activities. Unfortunately, none of us managed to complete all of the tasks so the prize remains unknown. Some of the activities we did do were great fun though. They included 'Simon Says' in the Nyoongar Language, making friendship bands, participating in traditional Aboriginal games, participating in the Waakarl drawings and handprints, writing raps and poems, writing messages of reconciliation on canvas, mural painting, face painting, hibiscus painting, hand painting, basket weaving, snake handling and story-telling by Nyoongar Elders. As the day came to a close, we experienced traditional Aboriginal dances and songs, together with speeches by Nyoongar Elders about their experiences, as well as from children that talked about how they wanted a better future for the all Indigenous people across Australia. Overall, I feel that even though the day was fun and exciting, it was most educational and interesting and I’m sure that everyone who attended, learnt so much about Aboriginal culture.


Every year, 26 May is Sorry Day, the day when Australians take time to reflect on the unjustices dealt out to our Indigenous people, particularly those who are part of the group, known as the Stolen Generation.

Sorry Week commenced on Monday with the raising of the Indigenous flag during a simple liturgy, which was led by members of the Social Justice Group and attended by some staff and some of our student leaders. During the week in Religious Education classes the students may have learnt more about this, as well as the way Indigenous members of the ADF were treated after returning home from WWI and WWII. Another atrocity the students may have discussed in class, was the effect of the Maralinga atomic tests on the Indigenous population living in that area of South Australia, during 1950s.

Throughout the week students were invited to visit the Siena Learning Centre to see the Sorry Week Display and on Friday there was a hand painting event, during which students were able to have Indigenous designs painted on one of their hands. Students have not only had the chance to learn more about the more recent history of our Indigenous people, but they have also been encouraged to consider and discuss ways to empower our Indigenous people, to play a more active role in Australian society. In the words of Galarrwuy Yunupingo 1978 Australian of the Year: "We are at last being recognised as the indigenous people of this country whom must share in its future. This is not a day of national mourning for us. We must leave history behind us and look forward."

Jenny Lindsay, Social Justice Group Mentor

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