Edition 16:October 2004 Holy Spirit Province

Indigenous Youth Leadership Workshop

Br Bernard White provides us with this report on a recent Indigenous Youth Leadership Workshop...

HROUGHOUT THE YEAR, Marlene Jackamarra, the Indigenous Issues Officer for the Christian Brothers WA, has been working to organize the Indigenous Youth Leadership Workshop. The presenter for the workshop was Themba Lonzi, a skilled facilitator who works extensively with youth in South Africa. Themba has his own theatre group as well as a band in South Africa.

Participants for the workshop were mainly year ten students from five of the six Christian Brother schools in Western Australia. There were a combined total of twenty-five students from Trinity College, Christian Brothers College Fremantle, Catholic Agricultural College Bindoon, Christian Brothers Agricultural School Tardun and Clontarf Aboriginal College.

The centrepiece of the workshop was the documentary film, Bringing Them Home. This video shows the national inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The purpose in screening this video was to assist the students to see and understand how it was for aboriginal people who were affected by the separation from their families. Even though the stolen generation is a past event, Themba facilitated a discussion that attempted to help the student understand that this past event still has an impact on their life today. Through small group discussion, the students were able to reflect on some of the following questions:

  • What experiences do I have today that are connected to the past?

  • When viewing particular events or presentations on the media that are connected with the past, how do I feel when I view these events?

  • How did the bad things that happened in the past affect my family?

  • What were the decisions that parents and communities made?

  • Why did some accept?

  • Why did some resist?

  • What are the opportunities and choices we have that my parents never had?

  • How is Australia’s history affecting me as a young Australian?

  • What lessons can I take from Australia’s past?

  • How can I and other young people help in creating a better society in Australia?

  • Overall the workshop was a very positive experience for the participants and it is hoped to run the workshop again next year.

Br Bernard White cfc


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