Posted by https://www.redearth.edu.au/student-reflections/
on 19 June 2020
Last August, I was given the opportunity to take a trip which truly changed my life.
A group of students from De La Salle College journeyed to Cape York to spend time in remote Aboriginal communities. In an effort to discover more about Aboriginal culture, lifestyles and the hardships faced over their lives since European settlement, we spent time in Jajikal and Julaymba homelands which allowed students to connect with Traditional Owners and their families.
These experiences granted us the chance to connect with people and lives so foreign from our own. We discussed issues that face Indigenous people still to this day and the effects of eras of Australian legislation, such as the Integration, Assimilation and Protection policies.
These conversations allowed us to grow in knowledge and compassion as we were given first hand accounts of situations and stories that we couldn't previously connect a face or a family to. The stories of discrimination and racism faced became tangible to students who may have never felt the weight of these real life issues.
The members of the communities shared their culture with us through experiences such as Welcome to Country ceremonies, spear making, basket weaving, musselling, fishing, cooking, painting and searching for bush hen eggs. All of us gained a respect for the way of life led by the Aboriginal people.
An aspect that surprised me was the connections we were able to make with community members over such a short amount of time, just by sharing stories. Our experiences on immersion of talking and sharing reminded us of the importance of sharing our own perspectives and listening to others, something often lacking in our digital-centric lives. During the course of our trip we experienced the hospitality of the communities as we were welcomed with open arms and gratitude for us traveling to Cape York to stay on their homelands.