Victoria reflects on ‘brave’ reconciliation at IGS

Acting Deputy Head of School Early Learning Victoria Kirkwood recently attend a reconciliation symposium in Darwin.

We thank her for this account:

On behalf of IGS Early Learning I had the privilege of attending the Early Childhood Australia National Reconciliation Symposium in Darwin earlier this month.

More than 200 delegates from around Australia gathered to bring the matter of reconciliation in early childhood into the spotlight and work towards a better future for all Australians.

Reconciliation Australia’s CEO Karen Mundine gave a keynote address, calling for action in education towards authentic and brave reconciliation.

The closing keynote address was delivered by Leanne Liddle, NT State Recipient Australian of the Year 2022. Her address characterised and contextualised the state of reconciliation in Australia, advocating for leaders and government to deliver the promise of a reconciled state.

This was a powerful address leaving most of us emotional and questioning the state of reconciliation in our own lives, work settings, the wider community and institutions that are all around us.

The uneasy feeling that we exist in systems every day which disadvantage our Indigenous people. This uneasiness is also the exact impetus of this year’s Reconciliation theme: Be Brave. Make Change.

We need to teach accurate history and truths. We need to learn and unlearn over and over again.

We must harness our sense of anger, sadness and injustice to propel us into action.

We must also proudly celebrate the deep knowledge, wisdom, history and culture that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have.

We can move forward in “hope and joy” as Bruce Pascoe said at last year’s Reconciliation Symposium.

Perhaps the best part of the conference was meeting new people and hearing inspiring stories from all different communities.

As I sat on Larrakia Land, the Saltwater people’s shores, and watched the sunset I felt proud of the progress IGS has made and the commitment we demonstrate towards reconciliation every day.

I felt brave to continue to challenge new areas where we can take further action. I felt apprehension for the mistakes I’m sure to make. I felt excited to share new knowledge and passion with the Early Learning team, children and families.

Let’s be brave and make change together!

Victoria, second from left, is pictured with Leone Cottam-Williams (Reconciliation Western Australia Representative), Natalie Roberts and Marnie Ritz (Reconciliation Tasmania Representative)