Culture gap bridged at reconciliation event

ORGANISERS have hailed last week’s National Reconciliation Week community event at Gawler’s Apex Park a major success, as locals  immersed themselves in Aboriginal culture for the day.

Gawler Reconciliation Action Group chairwoman Rebecca Kimlin said the organising committee was expecting around 500 students from local schools to make it out to the free event, held last Wednesday, but overall around 900 people were estimated to have attended.

“We were really, really busy for Welcome to Country this morning,” she said, on the day.

“It was massive, it was full.”

Ms Kimlin said a number of  workshops and musical performances held across the day – including an interactive storytelling session, Aboriginal art painting, damper-cooking and basket-weaving – provided the students of all ages with direct interaction with Aboriginal culture.

“Eddie Peters, who’s a Torres Strait Islander musician… he’s got all the kids up and dancing different Torres Strait Islander dance and language,” Ms Kimlin said.

“So, it’s been very interactive like that.

“That’s the style that we like to do, where everyone learns.”

A number of different service providers – many from the health sector – also set up stalls to outline the services they provide to the Aboriginal community, while Country Health SA used the event to launch its new Reconciliation Action Plan.

Country Health SA Aboriginal health policy and strategy project officer Talisha King said the action plan was about building and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal consumers in the community.

“The Gawler reconciliation event is always one of the largest events that Country Health SA sponsors and I thought it was a really good, massive community event that we could launch the plan at,” she said.

“One of the biggest barriers to access for Aboriginal consumers is racism, so we are taking an approach of zero racism at our health sites.

“Other areas that we’re focusing on is cultural competency for our SA Health staff, and also increasing our Aboriginal workforce.”

Ms King praised the organisers of the Gawler reconciliation event for delivering on National Reconciliation Week’s aim of bringing the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities closer together to form reciprocal relationships.

“Getting the kids here, and looking at the dances and the activities that are all around, promotes Aboriginal culture and gives them a bit of exposure outside of the general school environment,” she said.

“It’s about sharing and going together on a journey.”

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Matteo Gagliardi joined The Bunyip in August 2016 with almost two years experience in regional print media, having previously worked at a community newspaper in Swan Hill, Victoria. Covering politics, local government and crime, Matteo likes to sink his teeth into hard-hitting issues, but also enjoys spending time getting to know the Gawler community. Matteo also has a passion for science, agriculture and the environment, and has previously worked as a media officer at the Australian Science Media Centre.

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