A First Nations voice from the PTF

We thank PTF First Nations Coordinator Lucy Mendelssohn and parent Tim Bishop for sharing the following information with our community.

Nyini Gnalawangun budjari butugai wingarra gadi nura da – We gather and sit with good hearts and deep thinking on Sydney CBD country.*

The PTF has recently created the First Nations Coordinator role under the leadership of the new President Hayley Dean, embracing this year’s National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) theme: “Be Brave, Make Change”.

The position aims to ensure we centre Australian First Nations ways of knowing, being and doing across the PTF’s work in the school. In addition, the coordinator will provide support for those at IGS who identify as First Nations families.

This year for Reconciliation Week, the PTF are supporting activities led by teachers Jade Carr and Lucy Howard-Shibuya, and will continue working with the school to create space for connection and shared learning that will allow us and our children to unlock a unique relationship and nurture a sense of self in the world that centres Australian First Nations stories at the heart of our nation’s story.

The IGS PTF is committed to accepting the invitation made to the Australian people in 2017 via the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We aim to create a structure in our ways of working, that centres Australian First Nations ways of knowing, being and doing across the PTF’s work, so that we are learning with and demonstrating a better way of walking in the world for our children.

We acknowledge and understand that there are differing views within First Nations communities about the Statement from the Heart and its proposal. And that although the gathering at Uluru was an historic consensus, it was not unanimous. However, as the PTF we can’t deny that First Nations peoples have lived and practice their cultures here since time immemorial.

We recognise that we have the opportunity to influence – not only the immediate IGS community, but the broader Sydney and Australian communities – by committing to ensuring healing, truth telling and creating processes of agreement-making that are respectful and inclusive.

The PTF Committee are currently working on a strategic plan and will be incorporating the following dates into our calendar for acknowledgement and/or activities to be celebrated in and with the school community:

26 Jan: Survival Day/Invasion Day
13 Feb: Anniversary of National Apology
May: Uluru Statement from the Heart
26 May: National Sorry Day
27 May: 1967 Referendum (the real Australia Day!)
27 May to 3 June: National Reconciliation Week
28 May: Anniversary of the Bridge Walk for Reconciliation
3 to 10 July (dates may vary each year for the first week of July): NAIDOC Week
7 August: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
2 September: Indigenous Literacy Day

We look forward to walking with you.

*Acknowledgement in local Sydney Dharug language shared by Jactina Tobin.