St Clare’s honours the Elders and Pillars of their community

Guests from across the Manning region attended the annual NAIDOC Assembly at St Clare’s High School, Taree, last week.

Organised by the school’s Year 9 Aboriginal Studies class under the guiding hand of Michelle Case, St Clare’s Aboriginal Education Teacher, the assembly followed this year’s NAIDOC theme Because of her, we can.

Through music, language, dance and story, students shared their journey and their love and respect for the women, past and present, in their lives.

The assembly began with the Welcome to Country by St Clare’s student, Kirra Simon, followed by a welcome dance by male Aboriginal dancers from St Joseph’s Primary School, Taree, and female dancers from St Clare’s.

The dance was accompanied by rapping from students Kyle Shilling and Khan Saunders and didgeridoo playing by Khai Gahan.

Special guest and elder, Jay Davis-Saunders, taught all in attendance about the use of Aboriginal language.

The Aboriginal Studies students then shared their presentation Honouring the Indigenous women - the Trailblazers of 'Biripi', 'Worimi' and other Aboriginal community women.

Through the presentation, students were able to link their own life experiences with those of indigenous people across the state and the country. They also honoured the Elders (Trailblazers) and the Pillars (women continuing to fight for justice and equality) of their community.

Elders include Aunty Susie Russell, Aunty Pam Paulson, Aunty Janice French, Aunty Donna (Simon) Hall, Aunty Lyn Davis, Aunty June Farr, Aunty Sue Syron, Aunty Pam Saunders, Aunty Fay Ridgeway, Aunty Wilma Morcome, Aunty Denise Russell, Aunty Isobell Bungie-Mitchell, Aunty Pat Ping, Aunty Kath Morcome.

Pillars include Gail Russell, Sandra Dumas, Leonie Morcome, Stephanie Slater, Colleen Devitt, Michelle Wilkes, Jasmine Dumas, Sherry Smith, Paula French, Lee Townsend, Leah Walker, Rebekkah Wheeler, Tahnee French, Liz Davis, Kylie Hunter, Natasha Davis, Naomi Paulson, Roslyn Yerbury, Louise Campbell-Price, Hannah Ballard, Kristy Hay, Paula French.

The assembly was followed by a morning tea and barbeque for staff, students and community members.

“My thanks to all involved and particularly Michelle Case who brought all the participants together to produce a memorable celebration of all that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders bring to our country,” said Principal of St Clare’s, Peter Nicholls.

“The assembly was a wonderful community event.”