Our Heritage (R.A.P.)
While historically, at BPCS, we have always held regard and respect for the Noongar (our local Indigenous people) culture and heritage, there has been a deepening awareness of the need to go beyond this.
We are at a place now, where we must move beyond respect and regard, to actively engaging with and understanding Noongar culture and the heritage of the land on which we stand. By doing this, we, as a community, can play a part in honouring a culture that has existed for over 40, 000 years. It is also a way to build a sense of unity, through understanding, with Noongar people in the here and now. This is at the heart of reconciliation.
As such, in 2016, we instigated a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) This plan of action is about facilitating a discussion in our community about reconciliation and what steps we can take towards this.
Our community was invited to consider the following questions:
- What does reconciliation mean to us at BPCS?
- What can as a community do, to promote reconciliation?
- What practices and attitudes do you think we should embed that support reconciliation?
- What should our children understand about Noongar culture?
- Who else can we engage in this process?
- Who else can we influence in this process?
On the 23rd November 2016 – BPCS officially launched our Reconciliation Action Plan. We look forward to developing this even further as we contribute to a National attitude of respect, reconciliation and celebration.
A Special Message and Announcement from Nicole Hunter:
Kaya (Hello) Dear Families
In November 2016 we were delighted, in collaboration with our Noongar Elder, Mr Neville Collard, to launch our Reconciliation Action Plan. Neville is a highly regarded Aboriginal leader and I am very pleased that he agreed to ‘adopt us’ and become our school’s Noongar Elder.
On introducing Maggie Dent, our school’s patron, to Neville, Maggie described herself as the school’s “Patron Saint“, to which Neville, in his typically quick-witted style replied, “...and I’m their Patron Noongar!” As they chatted, Neville and Maggie realised they grew up in the same area and shared much in common. We are honoured to have Maggie and Neville along with our Founder, Gillian MacAuliffe, as our community’s ‘Elders’.
As many of you know this land, boodjar, our school stands on is a very significant place to the Noongar people. Through our ongoing Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP), we aim to acknowledge this heritage with intention and visibility, as well as engage with contemporary Noongar language, culture and community. Recognising that it is the land, boodjar, that connects us to the past, to each other and to future generations, in caring for country we also show care for these connections.
Our RAP centres on the key ideas:
- That we must hear the stories of the past and understand how the Aboriginal people lived on cultivated and cared for this land for many thousands of years.
- That we must hear the stories of past injustice and recognise the ongoing impact this has had on communities and acknowledge the resilience of the Aboriginal people and their culture
- Recognise and build our shared future together. This is at the heart of reconciliation, which means to bring together.
Our RAP is organised around three themes of:
- Acknowledgement and Respect
- Leadership and Learning
If there is an area of our RAP that you feel you could contribute, or you have other suggestions, please let me know.
Boorda! (See you soon!)
Nicole Hunter (Pedagogista)