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Honouring Indigenous Culture

On Monday May 20th we received special visitor Uncle John Lochowiak, who performed a Welcome to Country and traditional Smoking Ceremony in the St Ann’s College Rose Garden. This was done in preparation for Reconciliation Week. Uncle John welcomed us all to Kaurna country and invited us all to bring our cultural backgrounds together from around Australia and the world, as this diversity makes us stronger.

Uncle John explained that the smoke can build your spirit up and give you an edge, which he thought would be particularly useful to our students as they head into the intensity of end of semester with upcoming assignments and exams. He hoped that the ceremony would encourage us all to value and appreciate the land St Ann’s is built upon, and that it can help us understand our continuing connection to the Kaurna people, the traditional owners of the land.

Uncle John is a famous face around Australia, as he performs smoking ceremonies at schools across Adelaide, as well as SANFL games and events and he has taken on the role as the NATSICC Councillor for South Australia (which is the peak advisory body advising to Australian Catholic Bishops on issues related to Aboriginal and Torrens Straight Islander Catholics). He has travelled around the world and has even had a face-to-face meeting with the Pope!

After the ceremony, our student body was treated to an impressive presentation by student Jayden Willie. Jayden was the chief artist who designed our St Ann’s indigenous football guernsey. He explained the design which was rich in significance and represented many areas of St Ann’s life and natural elements that incorporate our physical surroundings. Please read his description below:

“This design incorporates a number of messages within each section of the guernsey. Both the front and back of the guernsey features patterns and symbols from different Aboriginal groups, including my eastern and central Arrernte culture in Central Australia, to up in the top end of the NT with the Yolngu people up in Arnhem Land.  

The river design running diagonally across represent our section of the River Torrens, running in between North Adelaide and Adelaide Uni. The emu tracks running parallel with the river represent both War Memorial Drive and Victoria Drive roads. Across the design, the U shape symbols represent individual people in Aboriginal artwork. The bottom right and top left corners represent the staff of the College that help make our college a beautiful, safe and catered environment. Between the River Torrens and the roads are the areas of grass land, which have meeting places for both College Club members and RA members. Both meeting places have each to their own Kangaroo tracks and Possum tracks running into each meeting place displaying both the RA and College Club’s roles and responsibilities for keeping our college moving. Additionally, I’ve added a few traditional Aboriginal tools used across most Aboriginal groups throughout time, including digging sticks, shield and a boomerang to represent our culture in a physical sense.

In the river, I’ve incorporated two traditional variations of Aboriginal artwork. There are 3 circles, connected with both variations of dot painting and line painting. The top circle represents home being Alice Springs as a special place for me, doing a lot of my growing up and a connection to my Aboriginal heritage. The bottom circle is one of my families dreamings, through my mum’s side of the family known in my family as Alatye. The premise is that Alatye is a Central Australian native tree, and through its roots grows yams as food for our community. Finally, the middle is a representation of us as students of the college, meeting together as a community with all different experiences and backgrounds.” 

Jayden Willie also treated the students to a recipe that he cooked himself in the kitchen with Rohit and the team! Jayden put together his own creation of South Australian Barramundi with native ingredient Karkalla (sea succulent and seablite). The fish was marinated with lime juice, vinegar, onions, sugar and a few other ingredients, and then was served with the native topping, as well as fresh chilis and lemon. Rohit rounded out the meal with lemon chicken with native lemon myrtle, corn, potatoes, green beans and wattle seed muffins with white chocolate chips. Thank you Jayden for sharing your many talents with us this week.

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