New position gives culture a leading role

On the final day of Reconciliation Week we meet Janaya Rose, the first cultural captain at Dubbo College Senior Campus.

Image: Groundbreaking: Janaya Rose is the first cultural captain at her school.

What does it mean to you to hold this groundbreaking role?

'I feel very honoured to be the first cultural captain at Dubbo College Senior Campus. In the Wiradjuri language, on whose country our school is situated, our cultural captains are known as Dyiraamalang captains meaning leader, spokesperson, influence for good. I am delighted to be a voice who represents all Aboriginal groups from greater north-west NSW as well as local Wiradjuri students. I feel this role will help formalise opportunities for other students to see the importance of Aboriginal culture in our students, staff and community.'

What is the significance of your role to your peers?

'Aboriginal students feel it is important that their culture is represented in our school. This role helps create a stronger sense of connection and identity between students and shows Aboriginal culture is taken seriously and valued in our school. The wider Aboriginal community is also proud of the initiative and supportive. It is important that Aboriginal students are seen to be representing the school at community events. My role will also help encourage students to be proud of their culture and gain personal confidence.'

How can you help the reconciliation process?

'I want to help educate non-Aboriginal people to understand the perspective of the lives, experiences and history that Aboriginal families have experienced. This can lead to a change of attitude where people can admit the ‘wrongs’ of history and act to make them ‘right.’ I would like all people in my community to work together towards taking the new steps of the future.

The ‘wrongs’ of the past must be prevented from happening again in the future. Non-Aboriginal people have a role in being a voice for justice here once they appreciate the reality of true histories and further, help to establish a functioning and meaningful treaty.

I would also like to highlight the tragedy of suicide in Aboriginal communities. This does not get enough attention and I would like to see more positive portrayals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people in the media and changes to practices that damage the land.'

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