Reconciliation Week in Geraldton: Museum events, community walks and schools contributing to a united future

Jessica MoroneyGeraldton Guardian
Donna Ronan and Elvie Dann
Camera IconDonna Ronan and Elvie Dann Credit: Jessica Moroney

Reconciliation Week was a time to reflect, share and close the gap, drawing attention to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resilience and strength.

Multiple events were hosted around Geraldton, including a Wanarayimanha Community Walk hosted by the Department of Justice on Monday, May 30.

Many supporters joined the peaceful march for reconciliation, including school students, police, parents and other community members.

The walk started from the Jaffle Shack
Camera IconThe walk started from the Jaffle Shack Credit: Kym Jefferies

Schools also took part in Reconciliation Week, with Geraldton Senior High School students spending a day learning and understanding culture, starting off with an acknowledgement of the Yamatiji Country.

On Friday (May 27), during recess, students gathered, socialising and taking part in activities including Indigenous face painting, mural painting and colouring in.

The boys at Clontarf Academy performed a traditional dance, and the school enjoyed a slice of “reconciliation cake”, finishing the celebration with a staple mark on the school oval — a large Aboriginal flag.

Leaving their mark on the oval
Camera IconLeaving their mark on the oval Credit: Geraldton Senior High School

Geraldton Senior High School will look forward to uniting again next week in a footy game between Geraldton SHS and Nagle College.

The staff at Geraldton Senior High School with Reconciliation cakes
Camera IconThe staff at Geraldton Senior High School with Reconciliation cakes Credit: Geraldton Senior High School

Geraldton Senior High School principal Emma Walker said students took part in a range of activities to help deepen their understanding of the purpose of this important week.

“Several students joined community members on the Reconciliation Walk,” she said.

“Reconciliation is celebrated widely at Geraldton Senior High School as we believe we hold a responsibility to educate young people about the need to continually find ways of healing, celebrating, and identifying shared history with Aboriginal people.

“This special time is for all of us as we Be Brave. Make Change, together in our school community.”

On Tuesday, (May 31) community members united at the Museum of Geraldton, weaving a ribbon to symbolise a healed country, and admiring local photography.

Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service hosted a morning tea to celebrate the week with the Museum of Geraldton.

More than 70 people attended the museum in celebration of National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.

GRAMS began the morning tea with an announcement, discussing the bravery and change Aboriginal people face and the importance of Reconciliation Week.

Leaving the guests to eat, drink and view the artwork, a special ribbon weaving stand was available to tie the knot as a way of mending culture and bringing about change.

Reconcile by weaving a ribbon and healing Country
Camera IconReconcile by weaving a ribbon and healing Country Credit: Jessica Moroney
Tie the country together by weaving a ribbon
Camera IconTie the country together by weaving a ribbon Credit: Jessica Moroney

Willunyu and Wajarri woman Donna Ronan said these events were a great platform to for the Aboriginal people and the wider community to meet, and was an opportunity to share stories, culture and close the gap.

“By sharing our stories we become closer to one another,” she said.

“Our theme this year is Bravery and Change, it’s about bringing our community to be strong, to stand up and to show pride in their culture.

Donna Ronan and Elvie Dann
Camera IconDonna Ronan and Elvie Dann Credit: Jessica Moroney

“It’s the people in the community that share art together who help to build those bridges and help our community come together as one.”

NAIDOC exhibition from 2021
Camera IconNAIDOC exhibition from 2021 Credit: Jessica Moroney

The GRAMS NAIDOC 2021 Photography Exhibition was displayed in an exhibition for the guests to admire, featuring the theme ‘Heal Country!’ for last year’s NAIDOC competition.

2021 winner Jessica Bradley’s ‘Next Generations Footprints’ picture took home first place, the photo depicting her two sons holding hands and grounding with their connection of the land.

Heal Country: Next Generations Footprints by Jessica Bradley
Camera IconHeal Country: Next Generations Footprints by Jessica Bradley Credit: Jessica Moroney

GRAMS officer David Batty said the day had a terrific outcome and the turnout was better than expected.

“Bringing culture back and getting people to understand, seeing the diverse culture in the room. There’s a lot of people out there who don’t have the encouragement,” he said.

“They had tears they were so overwhelmed, and then to see the exhibition in the other room was the icing on top of the cake.

“It doesn’t matter who we are or what we are, it’s about being strong in yourself.

Nicole Ziatos, Debbie Cherry and Yvonne Bradley
Camera IconNicole Ziatos, Debbie Cherry and Yvonne Bradley Credit: Jessica Moroney

“This week alone for Reconciliation week — and leading into NAIDOC week — let’s just respect each other.”

Paint Geraldton REaD, organised by Ngala Midwest & Gascoyne, showed their appreciation with their Book Swap House recognising Indigenous authors and illustrators available to read or swap at 24-28 Gregory Street.

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