Sharing Indigenous Australian culture at Fitzroy Crossing
Goodstart’s Heather Morris is carrying on a family tradition of working in Indigenous communities as she joins the team at Baya Gawiy Buga yani Jandu yani u Centre — an integrated early childhood education, care, health and wellbeing centre located in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.
Ms Morris is from Goodstart Kellyville Ridge
in New South Wales and has arrived in Fitzroy Crossing for a 12 week secondment, as part of Goodstart’s commitment to social inclusion and reconciliation.
Both Heather’s mother and grandmother spent a lot of time working in regional and Indigenous communities, her mother in the Northern Territory for the flying dental clinic, and her grandmother in north Queensland in polio hospitals and a deaf school for Indigenous children. Heather herself has travelled to many places in Australia as a defence force family.
“I am inspired by the relationships you find in close communities - the genuine nature of the children and the vital role of women,” Ms Morris said.
“I’ve had the opportunity to visit two Northern Territory communities in my late teens and the experiences were eye opening, heart wrenching and also incredibly heart-warming.
“It is so humbling to learn about the cultural responsibilities that each member of an Indigenous community is taught, and how they each grow within that community.
“It’s this sense of responsibility that I want to try and bring back to my centre – that we each have a responsibility to do the best we can for future generations.”
The Fitzroy Crossing secondment program provides two Goodstart educators per term the opportunity for secondment, bringing their experience and understanding back to further enrich Goodstart’s cultural knowledge.
Fitzroy Crossing is 397km from Broome and has been hosting Goodstart educators since the program launched in 2016.
Ms Morris is joined in Term 2 by Emma Babcock from Goodstart Nundah
Ms Babcock was interested in the secondment because of the unique learning and sharing opportunity it offered.
“The more we know about others and share our stories and culture, the more opportunity we have to create an environment that is inclusive. I feel there is so much to learn from my secondment here at Fitzroy Crossing,” Ms Babcock said.
“I spent many years growing up in New Zealand, a multicultural country with a strong emphasis on the first people’s culture. At school, we learned the Maori language, stayed at the Marae, danced and sung kapa haka, learned their creation stories, traditions and more.
“It sparked my love of culture and is what has made me seek out every opportunity to engage and learn from people throughout life and travels. I have a strong connection to stories and cultures of first peoples and highly value them.”