Published on: 26 February 2013

The Senior School assembly opened last week with a traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremonies by WA’s longest serving Aboriginal academic Simon Forrest. On Sunday, boys from the School’s Indigenous Student Program took part in another blessing at King’s Park, hosted by Future Footprints.

It was the second time Simon, who was born and raised in Wajuk country (Perth), had performed a smoking ceremony at the School after taking part in last year’s Year 10 Add-Venture program. Simon, who is Associate Professor and Director at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University, welcomed boys talked of the importance of the river and seasons, before cleansing the area to signify leaving behind troubles and beginning something new.

On Sunday, the School’s indigenous boys attended a Welcome to Country at Kings Park along with about 200 indigenous students from other Perth residential schools. Noongar representative Kim Collard, who has also visited Christ Church, delivered the ceremony. Kim spoke about opportunities and education and how important it was to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

Indigenous Program Co-ordinator Jamie Foster said Future Footprints (an additional support structure for indigenous students from regional and remote areas of WA attending Perth residential schools), Madalah, Kimberley Club, UWA mentors as well as Young Australian of the Year Akram Azimi ran a number of team building activities throughout the morning. He said it was the first of many social and recreational events, as well as regular meetings, with indigenous students from other schools.

The School’s Indigenous Student Program welcomed one new boy this year – Lewis Henry (Year 8) from Tammin. Most boys come from the East and West Kimberley as well as Carnarvon, the Murchison and Perth.

Indigenous Program Co-ordinator Jamie Foster said last week’s Welcome to Country and smoking ceremonies were one of many ways the School aimed to help build a greater understanding and awareness of indigenous culture and the value it adds to the Christ Church community.