Reconciliation and the education of Indigenous Students is a very important part of the Catholic Education experience at Notre Dame College. We have a significant focus on the celebration of Indigenous cultures and a very active group of staff and students who are commissioned Fire Carriers. The annual Reconciliation Assembly is an example of one of the ways we celebrate the local Indigenous people and their spirituality and stories within the life of our college.
The aim of the FIRE (Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education) Carrier Project is to promote respect, justice, enculturation and reconciliation for all Aboriginal people.
To be a FIRE Carrier is to exercise an important leadership role in the school community. FIRE carriers are students and teachers that share a passion for learning about Aboriginal culture and history and are committed to sharing this knowledge and promoting reconciliation and justice within and beyond the school community.
This year Notre Dame held their FIRE Carrier Commissioning at Winton Wetlands.
A Covenant is a sacred agreement.
Covenants emphasize the ethos and faith belief of Catholic schools and the Social Justice response they are committed to make as part of their Christian identity. Schools’ expressed commitment is reflected in practical goals and actions which they strive to achieve in the year ahead.
School covenants express in ways, specific to each school, recognition of the special contribution Aboriginal peoples and their cultures make to Australian society, their relationship and spiritual connection to the land. They declare the school and school community’s commitment to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples to achieve true reconciliation and acknowledgement, by all Australians, of their rightful position within Australian society. (firecarriers Sandhurst.pdf)
(This document is up for review in September.)
At Notre Dame College we have several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education (ATSIE) support workers who provide assistance to our students.
Their role is to:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Educators are supported by our 2023 First Nations student leader, Yilanii Atkinson.
The First Nations Leader promotes the participation and gives voice to our First Nations students and families, both within the College and in the wider community.
The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program (IYLP) offers scholarships and leadership opportunities to young, First Nations Australians, with a focus on Indigenous youth from remote or regional communities.
The IYLP gives Indigenous young people the opportunity to study at high performing secondary schools and gain practical leadership experiences, personal development, and mentoring.
Madec’s IYLP scholarship program is designed to assist participating students to successfully complete year 12 and transition to further education or employment. The program also aims to enable participants to take advantage of opportunities they might not otherwise have the access to.
Notre Dame College maintains a close partnership with Ganbina. Ganbina is Australia’s most successful Indigenous school-to-work transition program , working closely with Valerie Atkinson who has over 20 years experience in the field of koori education.
Notre Dame College is excited to be part of a 3 years research project with Australians Together (AT).
Australians Together (AT) are a not-for-profit organisation committed to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) people and addressing injustices and inequities. This is achieved by developing better integration of First Nations content into curriculum and utilising ready-to-use resources produced by AT. Professional development sessions will be conducted by Federation University doctors, Dr. Sara Weuffen and Dr Aleryk Fricker to support teachers to embed AT resources into their lessons.
Activities with the residents of Rumbalara aged care is a positive program for students, which reinforces and promotes strong cultural connections within their community. Both elders and students build nurturing relationships and students create stronger spiritual connections with their elders.