The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Yarning at Scotch

Around this time of year, we celebrate Aboriginal culture and promote reconciliation with Reconciliation Week (27 May - 3 June) and NAIDOC Week (2 - 9 July). Of course, we don't need to wait until these weeks to be celebrating the world's oldest living culture and the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society. As a part of the Year 10 Community and Service Programme, the College works with ICEA to promote conversations and understanding about what reconciliation really means. The programme is called Yarn and is exactly that, a Yarn!

'Yarn is a safe space to have courageous conversations about race, racism and reconciliation. Through open discussion and interactive learning, Yarn works to eliminate ignorance and challenge some of the inherited attitudes and biases that prevent reconciliation from moving forward. Yarn makes our schools and communities more inclusive by building respect for Aboriginal cultures and peoples and fostering young leaders who are culturally responsive.'

The programme is supported by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Advancement Strategy and has been rolled out across schools and businesses around Western Australia.

ICEA is now bringing this opportunity to the Scotch community. Over three dates in August the group will promote conversations around the areas below. Feel free to sign up for one or all three though please be aware that spaces are limited. You will receive an email with further details. RSVP here.

August 15 - Sharing perspectives on contemporary Aboriginal identity
August 22 - Becoming an ally in reconciliation
August 29 - Recognition versus Treaty? Understanding the debate

For more information, feel free to email me or Below is the testimonial of one Scotch boy who recently took part on the programme.

I definitely didn't know much when I got involved in the programme. I was lacking in an understanding of the subject matter and now I feel like I do have a grasp. I've learnt about culture like the Noongar seasons and about the racism that occurs in Western society now and in the 20th century. Now I have the knowledge of what's going, what people have said, what microaggressions are, how Indigenous people can be impacted and offended by that kind of stuff. It's been really relaxed though…just by talking and getting a grasp on different peoples' opinions about things you can kind of come together and make a whole better conclusion. I think I am a lot more aware now. At the start, I was like, "It's not that bad, there's obviously an issue but it's not that bad." Now I'm starting to notice situations where racism is being displayed - like microaggressions. I saw an example on the train and in the past I wouldn't have noticed what was going on. And there was a part of me that wanted to stand up and do something, but the guy was pretty scary. I think the biggest change is the noticing of that. That's the most significant thing for me because if you have an understanding, you often notice it and if you often notice it you can kind of go to that final step and step in and really just kind of inform that person what it's like and about reconciliation. The goal is to fully reconcile and have Indigenous culture immersed in Western Australia. I feel more empowered to be a part of that now that I have knowledge.

NAIDOC week is being celebrated at Scotch in Week 2 of Winter Term between 29 July and 5 August.

Mr David Kyle
Director of Community and Service