We began our NAIDOC Week celebrations with a Welcome to Country from local Aboriginal Elder Vaughan McGuire. He also spoke about the many generations of his family who have lived in the local area and their connection to Country. Our youngest students were very proud to sing “Naadja Wora-la?”, a Noongar version of “What’s the Weather?”.
The NAIDOC Week Assembly was followed by a smoking ceremony, assisted by Vaughan’s son Caleb. This provided students and staff an opportunity to take part in a traditional Noongar ritual. The smoking ceremony is a traditional Noongar ritual used to not only cleanse and purify a specific area, but also to cleanse the spirit, body and soul whilst you are on Noongar Country. The leaves and shavings from the balga (grass tree) smoulder and the smoke purifies the area and prepares for a new beginning. The balga tree is the life tree. It provides medicine, food, shelter warmth and healing.