Saint Ignatius College Geelong this week is celebrating NAIDOC as a school community. The theme for this year, 'Always Was, Always Will Be', recognises that First Nations People have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
Throughout NAIDOC Week, students have had the chance to learn the stories of Indigenous Australians who have contributed enormously to the fabric of Australian society through literature, science, music, sport and art.
Through their words, findings, lyrics, actions and art, people like Anita Heiss, Bruce Pascoe, Stan Grant, Marcia Langton, A.P. Elkin, Christine Anu, Jessica Mauboy, Emily Wurramara, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley, Adam Goodes, Lionel Rose, Nova Peris, Albert Namitjira, Browyn Bancroft, Richard Bell and Clifford Possum Tjapeltjarri have passed down their ancient cultural knowledge and have helped us to understand the proud history and connection to Country they have and always will have.
On Remembrance Day we especially honour those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans who fought and have fallen in wars dating back to 1901, and the service they gave to an Australian cause.
As Remembrance Day fell within NAIDOC Week this year, we had students create crosses with Indigenous symbols to explicitly acknowledge the sacrifice of Indigenous servicemen and women throughout our history.
The Indigenous Crosses of Remembrance mark a new chapter of continued appreciation within our lives not just as students but as Australians. Each cross had information about an Indigenous service person who sacrificed for our country during conflict and whom we should honour. Despite the service of Indigenous people, they faced dismissal and discrimination on their return home and were not even considered to be Australian until 1967.
We remember them and pay homage to their courage and ultimate sacrifice. Lest We Forget.
‘NAIDOC week and the Indigenous Crosses in our College's beautiful Remembrance Garden has been a step in the right direction for the College towards a greater appreciation of the traditional owners of the land we stand upon and are educated upon,’ said Sebastian Dowler, Year 11 student and FIRE Carrier.
‘This initiative has offered our College Community the opportunity to learn about our First Nations Peoples in a dignified and respectful way.
'The Indigenous Crosses of Remembrance mark a new chapter of continued appreciation within our lives, not just as students but as Australians, as we continue to appreciate and remember the sacrifices of this nation's First Peoples.’