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The 2020 theme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day on 4 August was “we are the elders of tomorrow, hear our voices”.

While the day empowers future generations, it also acknowledges the children of the past. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were removed from their countries, families and communities and placed in orphanages and institutions. Most of these children were identified by a number and did not know their own birthdays. These children are regrettably known today as the Stolen Generations. Many survivors of the Stolen Generations celebrate their birthday on 4 August.

At the Morwell campus, our young people explored the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. Young people learnt about the history of the day and the experiences of the Stolen Generations. We reflected on the GunaiKurnai creation story and explored local artworks, including that of Ronald Edwards. One of our young people was delighted to hear about Ronald Edwards in class, as he is her uncle!

Students worked together to create a message stick, which led to a class yarning circle where every young person was able to articulate what it’s like to be a child at the moment. While making the message sticks, students listened to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians, from Yothu Yindi to Baker Boy. Rich discussions occurred across the day and all voices were heard.

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