Cultural connections program brings Brighton students together

BRIGHTON Primary School has introduced a cultural connections program in the school community which is being embraced by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children.

The cultural connections program began in March this year by volunteer Dianne Cook.

Mayor Tony Foster with program coordinator Dianne Cook and students Milly Palmer and Jmarli Burgess

“My aim was to connect children, connect families, connect community and to build on their knowledge of Tasmanian Aborigines,” Di said.

First was to connect with the children that identified as Aboriginal, build their cultural capacity, knowledge, understanding but most importantly  strengthen their Aboriginal identity and be proud to say “I am a Tasmanian Aboriginal”.

“Cultural workshops, visits from Elders,  and participation in designing our cultural room, were the main priorities,” she said. 

Aboriginal speakers focused on mutton birding, bush tucker and spear making

“There was also a special workshop on cultural history Our Past Yarning  which is all about sharing stories.

Some of the activities also included listening to a DVD on our creation stories, such as basket-weaving from flax, and water carriers made from bull kelp.

Di is particularly proud of visual learning room which was set up by the culture club and has been growing at a rapid rate.  All students are interested in its development and contribute.

The room is called tunapri mana–mapali  which means ‘our learning’.

Respected Aboriginal identity Dwayne Everett Smith visited the school and performed along with Aboriginal dancer Danny Gardiner who performed with the children after a dance workshop that he took for NAIDOC week celebrations.

Di is motivated because as an Aborigine she is proud of what she has become.

“I particularly want to see cultural self esteem, confidence and knowledge in others knowing that in some way I have contributed to this.

“I’m not just working towards my dream of making a difference I’m living it now and it makes my heart smile.

“Cultural connections are for all children, their families and community not just for those that identify as Aborigines. Our room is opened for all,” Di said.