Next week, 29 IGS Year 6 students and 5 staff will participate in a cultural immersion program with Goodooga Central School, travelling by coach via the Western Plains Zoo on Wiradjuri Country, then heading out to Goodooga on Yuwaalaraay Country as part of the IGS and GCS Schools Walking Together Program
The cultural and Reconciliation exchange program has been two years in the making and is part of the IGS and Connecting Communities Australia (CCA) Schools Walking Together Program, aimed at privileging First Nations perspectives, and incorporating histories and languages into our curriculum through on-Country Learning and community collaboration with Yuwaalaraay woman and GCS teacher Mindy Gibbs. It is also a project about friendship between rural and urban communities helping to bring together city and country schools by reaching out to communities in rural and remote Australia.
“The kids are very keen,” Lucy said. “Our school is built around languages and appreciating culture, and they jumped at the chance.”
Although the trip was originally planned to take place in March last year, the children have already made some connections via Zoom.
Lucy described the trip as a transformational opportunity to share knowledge and respect and a chance for the kids from both communities to reflect on their differences and also see their commonalities.
“It’s a great opportunity to walk side by side and build that respect and cultural understanding and also appreciate the differences between rural and urban life.”
Listen to the interview (scroll forwards 25 per cent).
Ahead of the visit to Goodooga Central School, Uncle Bruce Shillingsworth, a Muruwari Elder from the Goodooga area visited students and staff in Week 7.
“Uncle Bruce is passionate about the environment, mother nature and education. He reminded us that we are the future and that we have the power to change society. He told us of how life expectancy was higher when people lived off the land, eating the foods provided from mother nature. His family would have relied on natural medicines such as eucalyptus and dogwood,” Year 6 students said.
Students Neve Nathan and Connor Chung: In Year 6 we have been learning about the Stolen Generation, government policies and the attitudes towards the traditional owners of the land. We hope to meet some Stolen Generation survivors to hear their first-hand stories and how they have hopefully reconnected with their country and family. We also had a talk from an Indigenous astronomer who told us how the night sky teaches about resources, celebrations and traditions. We hope to continue learning more from the night sky in Goodooga.
We need to go to Goodooga, Yuwaalaraay Country with an open-mind and ask lots of questions. You don’t get answers or the truth if you don’t ask. We hope that we can meet some Elders to share their knowledge, experiences and stories.