Next-generation custodians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture got a leg-up from their peers and alumnae to help keep traditions alive at the first corroboree hosted by Sydney Catholic schools.
Close to 700 students from 79 Sydney Catholic primary and secondary schools performed dances from Dharug and Wiradjuri nations and the Torres Strait Islands, They had learnt dances that showed respect to native animals and the hunter-gatherer roles of their ancestors at workshops in the morning and were painted with ochre before the main event.
St Therese Catholic Primary School Sadleir-Miller Year 3 teacher Neil Quirk has supported aboriginal education initiatives at Sydney Catholic schools for the past 20 years. He attended the day with students Allirah Baba and Malakai Cooper, who said learning an emu dance, and painting boomerangs with sun, sky and campfire symbols were their favourite parts of the day.
“Helping kids to get in touch with their own identity is very important, to give them a place in this world they are living in and that can be a bit confusing for them at times,” Mr Quirk said.
“This is the oldest civilisation in the world, and that’s something to be proud of. They’re finding archaeological evidence of it that now dates back to more than 60,000 years ago. These kids are part of that and they should be able to shout about it, not cringe from it.”