One of the things I am passionate about is supporting schools to make strong connections with their local communities. It brings a whole new dimension to Aboriginal education that all students can benefit from. Larry Brandy is an amazing storyteller who offers great experiences to support learning in schools and early childhood environments. He shares my passion for education, and I love the way he shares his knowledge and brings culture into the classroom. I asked him if he would share a bit about his approach to teaching culture and am delighted to share his blog post today.
I would like to introduce myself. I am a Wiradjuri man from Condobolin, central New South Wales. I now live in Canberra. I am passionate about sharing my culture with people of all ages and in particular children.
For the last few years I have been a regular performer in early childhood centres, preschools and schools around Canberra, as well as in Wiradjuri Country and Sydney.
I love performing with young children as they are so eager to learn about different cultures in a fun way. In my performance children become kangaroos, emus and hunters as they learn how we hunted and found food in traditional times. I use real artefacts as well as animal masks to involve the children. We always start a performance with an acknowledgement to the Traditional Owners of the Country we are on. At the end of the performance we do a short corroboree together using clap sticks and boomerangs for music. If the children want to I can paint their faces with ochre.
When I am a regular performer I use different themes each time. This could include the seasons, bush foods, where animals live and how Aboriginal children learn about animals and their tracks. I also introduce Wiradjuri language where appropriate. This could include counting to 10 in Wiradjuri, learning some Wiradjuri names for animals. Many names for Australian animals are based on Aboriginal words such as wombat, from wambad, kookaburra from gugubarra, galah from gilaa and so on.
Children are very open to learning and I love seeing them take an interest in Aboriginal culture and how that interest can lead to empathy, understanding as well as an appreciation for Aboriginal people and culture. Supporting teachers to deliver Aboriginal content is a great privilege and it is great to be able to support schools and early childhood centres become more culturally aware.
I am still learning my language so these are a way for me to learn more as well. Language is important because it helps keep our culture alive. I have published two books for children, introducing them to the Wiradjuri language. One is a colouring-in A to Z book and the other is an activity book. I like being able to encourage children’s interest in Aboriginal culture because it is important education for all Australian kids.
Adults and children of all ages benefit from learning about Aboriginal people and history. For groups of young children, I focus on being very interactive, getting children involved so as to ignite a love of learning about my culture. With older children I can talk more about the artefacts and what they were used for. I enjoy connecting with educators and encouraging them to continue the learning in their programs.
To find out more about what I do follow me on Facebook or check out my website. Feel free to message me with any questions you may have or you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can follow my journey at:
Video with children at an early childhood centre https://vimeo.com/202511207
My story on SBS https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/video/462757443751/Surviving-S2-Ep11-Larry-Brandy
Post by Cynthia O'Brien-Younie.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this post contains images of a person who is deceased.
I was glad when the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, made the very remarkable apology to the Stolen Generation. I remember watching the apology in the office – it is a day I will always remember. I had a lot of mixed emotions as I watched Prime Minister Rudd speak, as my mother and many of my aunts and uncles are part of the Stolen Generation. That apology spoke directly to them and the impact it had on my family.
My Mother never got to hear this apology as she passed in 2005, three years before the apology.
My Mother, Betty O'Brien, was one of eight siblings that were removed as part of the Stolen Generation. She was in her teens when she was taken and was sent to a farming property in Armidale NSW where she worked as a house domestic. She was paid wages but never received them as they were taken and placed with the Aboriginal Protection Board. Her wages were never returned and became part of the widespread history of Stolen Wages. My Mother passed before any claim could be made for her wages.
My mother's four sisters were sent to Cootamundra Girls Home where they suffered abuse of all kinds. Her three brothers were sent to the notorious Kinchela Boys Home near Kempsey where they also suffered abuse. At the home they were given numbers and not called by their names.
My mother didn’t talk much about her experience but I can say that when I was growing up my mother was very protective of all her children. She made sure that we were always clean and the house was spotless so that when the Welfare Board came checking on her there would be NO excuse for them to take us away. This is a fear that never left her. She would never complain about the way she was treated and would simply say she had a good life but she couldn't say the same for her brothers and sisters.
The Apology and recognition of the trauma caused by the removal policies on the Stolen Generation and their families was an important day.
I was glad to hear the Apology.
Cynthia and her mum Betty.
Wingaru Education believes that all children should have access to quality education about Aboriginal people and culture.