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Healing Country

At ATC our school promotes genuine reconciliation and while we are always promoting the success stories of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys, NAIDOC Week is time to celebrate the history, cultures and achievements of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This special week gives our students a platform to showcase what happens at our school and within the Clontarf Program on a day to day basis. On Tuesday our college community celebrated with two masses led by Father Gillen and students from the Junior School, the Senior School and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from both ATC and Brigidine College.

Our students performed two traditional dances which they have been practicing each week and showcasing at local schools and businesses as well as at the Brisbane Broncos Cultural Night. This was first time students from ATC and Brigidine College combined and performed, after months of teaching and practicing this year which made it even more amazing to watch.

Later in the day, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from ATC and Brigidine College ran several workshops for the Junior School including learning the traditional dances they had witnessed earlier in the day, playing traditional games on the Oval, taking part in educational experiences in the Clontarf Room and getting into a trivia game organised by our guests from Brigidine!

The day kept getting busier, with a collaborative traditional art workshop and bush tucker experience where our Junior School boys taste tested Kangaroo, Venison, Crocodile and Buffalo sausages. Our students running the workshops showed leadership and pride in being able to have the opportunity to express their culture through these various workshops and it’s great to see how engaged and respectful our Junior School non-Indigenous students were throughout the afternoon.

Tomorrow we play the annual Staff vs Students Clontarf Basketball Match to see if the Clontarf student can redeem themselves after last year’s loss! It’s important that during this week we celebrate with all people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous to promote reconciliation and to bring people together and sport is another way we can connect in a less formal setting.

On Friday some Clontarf boys are heading over to Brigidine College to perform and run a traditional dance workshop for their whole school community. This will give our students another opportunity to build their capacity as leaders in our community, but also to share culture, which we know they love to do.

Growing up, these experiences were very foreign to me. As a young Aboriginal boy I didn’t know my history or anything about my culture. Connection to identity is important for any young person and to not understand that, meant I felt disconnected from who I was. I have been lucky to learn and re connect with family and my culture and it fills me with joy to see these young indigenous boys and girls have this knowledge that they will keep alive and pass on through generations. Ambrose Treacy College is genuine with what the College does to promote reconciliation and celebrate the stories of our Indigenous men.

ATC is making a difference in the lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys but also educates our wider non-Indigenous community, because we aren’t on this journey alone. To see the engagement through participation at events like yesterday and the curiosity from the questions they were asking, to seeing our older students at the college take seriously the traditional cultural experiences at our annual camp at Stradbroke Island, to our First XV Rugby Team supporting their brothers by performing a traditional war cry before their game, it makes you feel proud as an Aboriginal man that your community values your culture and gives you hope that the generation coming through will help us in this.

Mr Brett Greinke
Clontarf Foundation