28 July 2017

A special NAIDOC Day assembly

​My name is Summer-Sky Wanjaleenarparli, which means spirit woman strong woman and I come from the South Coast of NSW. I have a strong Indigenous heritage and language is part of who I am. I am Monero, Ngario, Yutamutung, Yamathin, Wandiwanderian, Murramarrang, Walbunja, Wodi Wodi Yuin. From the south eastern seaboard to the Snowy Mountains through my mother and grandparents. I am also descended from the Wadjuri and Amungu through my father and grandparents in Western Australia.

On Monday we held our NAIDOC celebrations at school. The theme for NAIDOC this year was 'Language Matters'. The aim was to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that our Indigenous languages play in our cultural identity. Our language links us to our land and water and in the spreading of our history, spirituality and rites, through our story and song. Sadly, of our thousands of dialects there are only about 120 languages still spoken and these are at risk of being lost as elders pass on. So it was amazing to be able to welcome and introduce the school to my grandfather Jarimbinjimba Paul Mcleod, Goomrah Roderick McLeod, Toonkoo uncle Joe Brown Mcleod and my brothers Doonooch dancers, meaning night owl. My family came to see my school but also to educate and entertain the assembly with language and dance. It was a very special day for me and I think a wonderful opportunity for my peers to hear our language spoken and to try to understand its importance to our identity.

Following the assembly we had a BBQ and music on the lawn to raise money for The Girls Academy which is a not-for-profit charitable organisation founded in 2004 by Olympian and champion basketballer Ricky Grace. The Girls Academy develops and empowers Aboriginal girls through leadership training, mentoring, sport and extra-curricular programs.

It was a wonderful day.

Summer-Sky Dann (Year 11)

See more photos in our Facebook album here.​