The 27th of May marks the beginning of “reconciliation week”. It is important to teach our children the culture of our indigenous culture, to model and show respect for our indigenous people. We can do this by acknowledging the indigenous people as the first and traditional owners of our land, and celebrating the contribution of aboriginal culture to our society. In kindergarten we can make a start by exploring the dreamtime stories, songs, and artwork.
Last week we read the story of “Warnayarra the Rainbow Snake”. Since aboriginal stories were first recorded, many of the storytellers have since passed away. Books such as Warnayarra the Rainbow Snake, fill an important role in passing on Aboriginal culture and dreaming stories to future generations. The storybook we used is in the words, and makes use of illustrations by the Senior Boys Class at Lajamanu School (An Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory).
As we read the story, we discussed the artwork within the pages. It was interesting for the children to notice the way Warnayarra looked different on each page, as drawn by different students. The story is quite engaging to young children and tells the story of the snake hiding within the storms, destroying gardens, plant life, wildlife and manmade structures of importance - windmills and water tanks. The children were invited to think about Warnayarra the Rainbow Snake and create their own representations of the story.
We have also been learning an aboriginal song called “Boonwurrung”. The song is a simple, beautiful and calming chant taught to me by Priscilla Reid-Loynes, a teacher of Goomeroi and Yularoi, given to me to pass onto children of the Boonwurrung area. There are only 4 words to the song - Boonwurrung, Womenjeka, Waa & Bunjil. Boonwurrung is the land and the custodians of the land within the Stonnington and surrounding areas. Wominjeka is the aboriginal word for “welcome”. Waa is the crow who looks after the water of country- rain, rivers, creeks etc. Bunjil is the eagle which cares for the plants, trees, soil and land which we, and other living animals and creatures all need and use for life.