UTS Indigenous Engineering & IT Experience
As we conclude the 2018 Year, I would like to express my thanks to Mr J Bourke and his commitment to Indigenous Education during Terms 1 and 2. Students have had a variety of opportunities to gain extra support and immerse themselves in extra curricular activities during this Year. I would further like to thank the Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group, Western Sydney University Indigenous Outreach team and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) for the programs and services that you have delivered for our students at the College throughout the course of 2018. As we move forward to 2019, the College is exploring new opportunities for our students to embrace and integrate with Indigenous Culture with a renewed focus on student identity and connecting with Country.
Mr R. Peake
Indigenous Education Coordinator
Our Wiradjuri Language and Culture Camp began at 5am, having to ride in the College bus for four hours all the way to Lake Burrendong Sports and Recreational Centre, past Orange. When we arrived in the morning, the day commenced with the Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony held by our Elder Uncle Ralphy. After the introduction to our day we headed straight into our activities which started with our ‘Story Telling’ and ‘Cultural Yarn’. Uncle
Ralphy spoke to us about what it means to be an Indigenous man and woman today and the great importance that culture can hold within our lives. He spoke about how it is important to have an inclusive environment.
Next up was the language and music activity, which all the boys took great interest in. We learnt how to address, respect and to count in the traditional Wiradjuri language. Our teacher was an exceptional woman named Deidre Naden who had personally taught us in depth to understand and speak the language. Deidre used memory-based activities and games involving basic word and numerals of the language, helping students understand these concepts while keeping them engaged. We were also taught the value of respect when addressing Elders and fellow peers, as respect holds great value in Indigenous culture in both the activities and the aspects of culture.
Following on, we were involved in the dance classes which we learnt
traditional dances and stories of our culture; dance and culture which has been passed down through generations. This activity was led by Tyrone Gorden, a very energetic and friendly man who shared with us many stories both through conversation and in dance. During this time, we learnt interesting and valuable stories. He shared the story of how the creator spirit split us up into four skins fur, quill, feathers, scales.
After the time spent sharing stories with us, Tyrone then began to tea
ch us three dance routines, each telling different stories, having different animals that we as performers represented. These stories represented kangaroos fleeing from their predator, dingos. We danced recreating and represented owls hunting for insects, and finally as a sneaky hunter attempting to kill the Rainbow Serpent. This was a sad story on face value; however, it is more about how as the Rainbow Serpent returned to Mother Earth to share culture and values to other countries in Australia.
Our fourth activity was the Wiradjuri story – our music and art. This activity centred around how we can express ourselves as Indigenous Australians. Our presenter Towney shared with us how h
e expressed his culture, through rap. He sat down with us and told us the many forms of expression, then sat us down and demonstrated his skills which allowed us to rap with him. We created bars as a group, free from shame and full of excitement. Though it was hard for many, if not all the boys, everyone had jumped in and had a go, contributing a lot the discussion.
Closing the day, we grouped up with every group combining to share their cultural dances they learnt throughout the day. Everybody participated, showing their pride in both their culture and in their achievements. The camp was a valuable experience which allowed us to connect with culture, network with Indigenous Elders and students. Thank you to Mr Peake for organising and driving the bus for the Camp.