As Coordinator of the College’s Indigenous Education Program, Walawaani, Ms Maakrun was fortunate to join ten other EREA staff from across Australia on the Edmund Rice ‘Let’s Talk’ cross-cultural immersion program within Aboriginal communities in rural NSW.
The partnership between the Edmund Rice Centre, Edmund Rice Education Australia and the Aboriginal communities of North-West NSW, is based on a philosophy of experiential learning and critical social analysis, supporting the educational achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and furthering reconciliation in Australia.
The program makes a connection across the urban-rural divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, focusing on issues of peace, identity, human rights, socio-economic issues and reconciliation.
The group visited Dubbo, Myall Creek, Moree, Lightning Ridge, Goodooga and Brewarrina, with the journey integrating dialogue with locals and elders in visited places, and engagement with places of significance to the Aboriginal people of north-west NSW.
Visited sites included: the Myall Creek Massacre site of 1838, the 1965 Freedom Riders protest at Moree Baths, an Aboriginal Cemetery, the Brewarrina Missions and the Hospital Creek massacre site. The immersion included knowledge about bush foods, medicines, artwork and awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spiritualities.
The experience was truly inspirational and very memorable, with a number of relationships built with other EREA schools to further enhance our Walawaani program. It is also hoped that this unique experience could possibly be shared by some of our students and staff in the future.
Ms Marie-Anne Maakrun
Assistant Director of Identity & Student Formation