by Meghann Plant
NAIDOC Week is usually celebrated annually between the first and second Sundays in July and recognises the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a range of celebratory activities. The KSHS NAIDOC Week celebrations were held on Tuesday 19th of July in Keith Middleton Court Yard, the Sports Hall and the oval. A range of activities were included in the celebration, including face painting, touch football, AusTag and the serving of a variety of foods.
The celebratory endeavour was undertaken by a variety of personnel within the school. Coordinating the week were Clontarf Foundation staff Ryan Brown, Chris Macaskill-Hants and Community Liaison Officer Toni Phillips-Peterson, who created a celebration that not only respectfully acknowledged and represented the indigenous peoples of Australia, but was enjoyable for all students in the school, regardless of background.
Grade 7 student Krystine White, who was involved in face painting, touch football and AusTag on the day, declared, “It’s the best week that I’ve had in high school!” Additional participants in the NAIDOC Week celebrations came in the form of the Kingaroy SHS Sista girls dance group and the Clontarf boys, which included Year 10 students BJ Walters, Stanley Mason and Chaz Fuller and Jayden Barnes from Year 7.
The day provided activities available to all students, staff and visitors to the school. Nicholas Hume (Year 7) assisted with giving out food and face painting on Tuesday, 19th July during NAIDOC celebrations, and believes NAIDOC is, “when aboriginals and non-aboriginals mix together.” Students Ana Toseni and Rhiannon Brown assisted with ensuring the smooth running of the event in Keith Middleton Courtyard. Ana Toseni said that NAIDOC Week is important as, “everyone comes in and joins in; [different cultures] and different tribes.” NAIDOC Week celebrates and represents a myriad of indigenous Australian peoples. “It shows representation of our culture,” said participant Corey Garland.
NAIDOC is an annual occurrence, and has been celebrated at Kingaroy State High School consistently in the past. Many students have been involved for many years, however students such as Krystine White are just now becoming involved in the celebration: “I have actually enjoyed my time with NAIDOC Week because it is my first time [celebrating it at school] and it is really exciting for me,” she said. Krystine also said she plans to continue her involvement with NAIDOC Week within the school in coming years.
Kingaroy State High School staff and students were not only involved in the school ceremony, but ceremonies throughout the community. The Sista girls gave dance performances at Cherbourg ceremonies, with members of the broader community expressing interest and promoting NAIDOC Week. Kingaroy SHS’s Toni Phillips-Peterson said, “NAIDOC to me is special for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to celebrate and share their culture. At our school yesterday you would’ve seen our girls dancing - Aboriginal contemporary dancing. The Mayor of Cherbourg, Arnold “Arnie” Murray wants everyone to get involved; it’s to share with everyone not just indigenous people, not just non-indigenous.”
At the culmination of Kingaroy State High School’s celebration, members of the school community had experienced a fun and respectful day, learning and educating on Australia’s indigenous culture and connection to country. Senior student Tyson Tunstall, who participated in the celebrations, reiterated what NAIDOC Week meant to him: “NAIDOC [Week] means the celebration of long-living culture that deserves recognition over the past 200 years due to circumstances and events; … it is a time when people from different cultures experience the cultures of indigenous people through food, dance and celebrations.”
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Last reviewed 29 April 2020
Last updated 29 April 2020