NAIDOC Week is an important time in our Catholic schools, where we celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - and in particular this year, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
I pay my respects to the many wonderful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in this great Diocese. This year’s powerful NAIDOC theme - Because of her, we can! - certainly applies to them.
We recognise the significant history and presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the many regions of our Diocese and their traditional lands on which we are privileged to live, work, teach and learn.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education is a strategic priority for our Catholic schools, as emphasised with the launch of our revitalised policy last year.
We are increasing our employment of Aboriginal staff, both in schools and in support roles in our central office; and we have focused on building cultural competency across all our staff and schools.
We pride ourselves on developing and maintaining respectful relationships with local Elders and communities to help guide our programs and support for children and young people.
As a result, enrolments have risen significantly and we now have almost 700 identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in our schools. That’s an increase of over 300% in the past decade - something of which we are very proud.
Together we all still have much work to do to continue to close the gap, to bring about justice and healing, and progress towards true reconciliation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But I am confident we are heading in the right direction and that our Catholic school system is doing our part to help achieve this.
We stand with you, partners in Catholic Education in the Diocese of Wollongong, working together to achieve the best outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
I wish you a meaningful and joy-filled celebration of NAIDOC Week 2018.
Director of Schools
Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) acknowledges the significant contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to our life and culture.
In particular we recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who work in our Catholic schools as Aboriginal Education Assistants, Community Engagement Officers, Teachers, Education Officers and other support staff.
Along with so many Aboriginal women Elders and Community Members, and non-Aboriginal women who walk alongside their sisters in a true spirit of reconciliation, we pay respect and gratitude for the difference they all make to the life experience and opportunities of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
It is because of these women, they can!