NAIDOC Week 2020: ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’

NAIDOC Week 2020: ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’

NAIDOC Week 2020 Coordinator Naomi Taylor

Cire recently reached out to all those within our reach for NAIDOC Week 2020, honouring the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This year’s theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ inspired great discussions about how privileged we are to live, work and play in a region so rich in Indigenous history, culture and connections.

Cire Community Hubs organised an engaging mix of activities to acknowledge and share Indigenous culture with some activities highlighted on our social media pages.  The Hubs team rose to the challenge of COVID restrictions to modify its original plans for face-to-face events for virtual delivery where necessary.

Toddlers at Cire Children’s Centre, Yarra Junction learned about bush tucker.  Freezing Australian mint into ice cubes created a great sensory activity for the children to explore through touch and smell.

Thanks to funding from The National Indigenous Australians Agency the Hubs team created a video featuring family-focused activities to celebrate the rich culture of Indigenous people in the Yarra Ranges and timeless connection with Birrarung (Yarra River).

Wattleseed Biscuits

Wattleseed Biscuits

With wonderful bush tucker ingredients and recipes from Murnong Mammas, we baked Wattleseed Biscuits, with Hub Coordinator, Naomi filming the process for viewers to follow at home.

We also worked with Indigenous educator, Emily Webbers from Wurruck Yambo to introduce some of the wildlife who call Birrarung home. This segment incorporated Emily’s many resources, recreating the river, the banks and the trees. We learned some local language and the ways that history intertwines with the environment through every animal and plant.

Ivor Wolstencroft

Ivor Wolstencroft

Ivor Wolstencroft, a Yarra Ranges local, shared his kayaking journey along most of the meandering length of the Yarra River.  Over 13 days, Ivor voyaged from Warburton to Williamstown in an inflatable kayak, experiencing a unique perspective of Birrarung.  The birdlife was a recurring interest along the way, so much so that Ivor created an artwork featuring a Sacred Kingfisher who he ‘met’ on his trip.

Cire’s NAIDOC Week video reminded everyone that our local area always was, and always will be an incredibly beautiful and significant part of Australia and its history.  We acknowledge and thank the traditional custodians, and we look forward to walking together towards a future of respectful curiosity and knowledge sharing.

For those keen to learn more about the Indigenous influence in our region, Yarra Ranges Council has prepared a podcast with Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin discussing land management.

Brooke shares spirit of NAIDOC and beyond

Wurundjeri educator, Brooke Wandin, recently injected special meaning into 2019 NAIDOC Week at Cire Children’s Services with an engaging session that captured the hearts of her young audience and staff.

Brooke is from the Woiwurrung speaking Wurundjeri-Wilam clan. Her family has been living in the area we now know as the Yarra Ranges for countless generations. Brooke introduced herself and greeted us in Woiwurrung and then shared some family photographs.

The children were particularly enthused when Brooke taught us a welcome rhyme and a wonderful Wurundjeri song which we are using to start our daily mat time. We have continued to share them with their inclusion at the end of this article.

Brooke read a beautiful story, “Wilam – A Birrarung Story”, which is illustrated by Indigenous artist Lisa Kennedy and written by respected Elder Aunty Joy Murphy and Yarra Riverkeeper Andrew Kelly.

The book captured the story of Birrarung (also known as the Yarra River), its history, the flora and fauna that live alongside it, from its source to the function it performs as a part of modern-day life. The following excerpt highlights the spirit of the book:

As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen. Wilam – home. 

As part of her engaging session, Brooke also taught the children a fun “traffic light” game, where each colour was written in Woiwurrung. Red meant stop, yellow meant slow and green meant go. To finish off her visit, Brooke showed the children some fantastic Woiwurrung language cards of Australian animals, such as bunjil the eagle, waa the crow, ngarrert the frog, gurrng-gurrng the kookaburra, and marram the kangaroo.

Links to the Early Years Learning Framework
Brooke’s visit was particularly relevant in the context of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF), as well as respecting our rich Indigenous heritage:

EYLF Outcome 2– Community:
Children discover and explore some connections amongst people and explore the diversity of culture, heritage, background and tradition and that diversity presents opportunities for choices and new understandings

Children become aware of connections, similarities and differences between people and listen to the ideas of others and respect different ways of being and doing. Children notice and react in positive ways to similarities and differences among people

EYLF Principles: Respect for Diversity
Educators recognise that diversity contributes to the richness of our society and provides a valid evidence base about ways of knowing. For Australia, it also includes promoting a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being.

EYLF Practices: Cultural competence
Educators who are culturally competent respect multiple cultural ways of knowing, seeing and living, celebrate the benefits of diversity and have an ability to understand and honour differences. This is evident in everyday practice when educators demonstrate an ongoing commitment to developing their own cultural competence in a two-way process with families and communities. Educators also seek to promote children’s cultural competence.

The following are Brooke’s welcome and Wurundjeri song:

Brooke’s welcome:
Hello land (touch floor)
Hello sky (hands up)
Hello me (hug self)
Hello you and I (stretch arms out to greet friends).

Wurundjeri song:
We live on Wurundjeri land,
We live on Wurundjeri land,
Thank you Wurundjeri people
For taking care of our land!

We play on Wurundjeri land,
We play on Wurundjeri land,
Thank you Wurundjeri people
For taking care of our land!

Cire Children’s Services is one of the four core operations of Cire Services Inc.

We proudly operate a range of quality children’s services at multiple sites across the Yarra Ranges in order to meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

We program include long day care incorporating a funded kindergarten program, occasional care, outside school hours care, vacation care and playgroups.

We provide opportunities, skills and support for both children and families.  We believe in the individuality of each child and promote a holistic approach to education and care which encompasses the overall health and wellbeing of every child who attends our services.