Country, smoke and art

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NAIDOC Week at Alyangula Area School included an interpretation of the Heal Country theme, a purification ceremony, and traditional art.

Indigenous staff member Kyleigh Curry addressed a student assembly, emphasising the life nurturing essence of Country.

Assistant Principal Clare Schoeller said Heal Country “means embracing, as part of our national heritage, the First Nations peoples understanding of Country”.

“Country defines Indigenous people spiritually, physically, emotionally and culturally,” she said.

“For Kyleigh, Country is family, kin, law, lore, ceremony, traditions and language.”

The event also featured a smoking ceremony — the burning of native plants selected by Elders to ward off any bad spirits.

Ms Schoeller said school displays of Indigenous art were a dominant part of NAIDOC Week.

“Local artists contributed traditional woven baskets, paintings, spears and woomeras, local books, jewellery and local Bush Medijina [handmade skincare] products,” she said.

‘And the students produced X-ray art, and collaborated to make hand prints and a hanging painted leaf display.

“The gathering recognised the rich history, diverse cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Country, smoke and art
Students’ painted hand art [Inset] Students walk through ceremonial smoke.

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