Our Languages Matter 2017 NAIDOC week

Our Languages Matter was the theme of the National NAIDOC Week held from July 2 this year.

The Aboriginal Gumbaynggirr language echoed through the hallways of the Department of Education recently as part of NAIDOC Week celebrations.

On July 5 Aboriginal Education and Communities celebrated 2017 NAIDOC week with Department of Education staff, Aboriginal community organisations and other NSW government agencies.

As part of the week’s theme on Aboriginal languages, the event showcased the important Aboriginal languages work occurring in public schools.

Languages, Culture and Communities acting manager Janice Dennis opened the celebrations with recollections of her childhood growing up in a large Aboriginal community in a small country town.

Gadigal Elder Uncle Ray Davison, who gave the Welcome to Country, also spoke about his family and experiences living in the Sydney area.

Secretary of the Department of Education, Mark Scott, said the department was proud of the contribution it was making to the rejuvenation of Aboriginal languages.

He said in the long term, Aboriginal language initiatives in public schools contributed to an understanding of the broader importance of Aboriginal language to the cultural heritage of NSW.

Mr Scott also announced the department was working on implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan.

This would provide a framework for the department to realise its vision for reconciliation built on respect, relationships and opportunities.

As part of the celebrations Sebastian, a proud Ngyeeampa man from the Menindee area and Year 12 student at Macquarie Fields High School, performed an acapella version of Archie Roach’s song “Took them away”.

Aboriginal Languages and Culture Teacher Michael Jarrett spoke at the celebrations about the significant work being done in the Language and Culture Nests.

He highlighted the positive impact of Aboriginal language programs in schools and got the audience involved in the NAIDOC theme by asking them to join him in speaking the Gumbaynggirr language.

View the Learning Systems Storify of tweets published at the NAIDOC celebration. #NAIDOC2017 #NSWDOE

Uncle Ray DavisonUncle Ray Davison, performing a Welcome to Country

Mr Mark ScottMr Mark Scott, Secretary Department of Education

SebastianSebastian, Year 12 student performing at the 2017 NAIDOC celebration

Mr JarrettMr Michael Jarrett, Aboriginal Languages and Culture Teacher

NAIDOC CelebrationAttendees at the 2017 NAIDOC celebration

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