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Home >  News & advice > November 2021 > My experience participating in Goodstart’s Secondment and Cultural Immersion Program - Lynne Stone

My experience participating in Goodstart’s Secondment and Cultural Immersion Program - Lynne Stone


My experience participating in Goodstart’s Secondment and Cultural Immersion Program - Lynne Stone

Greetings from Ndjébanna land here in Maningrida NT.
 
I was lucky to be selected as part of the Goodstart Secondment and Cultural Immersion Program.
 
This program is a two-way cultural learning program, which involves Goodstart providing qualified Educators each school term to work alongside local educators. It is an amazing opportunity to learn in a completely different community, rich in Aboriginal culture.
 
Katie from Tasmania and I share the same house and we are working here at Manayingkarirra Child and Family Centre. We work with Indigenous community members, most of whom have their children in care at the centre.
 
I am learning so much about Aboriginal culture and have a deeper understanding of Indigenous practices. The local educators have been very accepting - they have accepted me as their own. In fact, they have given me a skin name which is “BELANYJAN’ and my dreaming name is ‘BARRACUDA’. Skin names are not  usually given to ‘Balanda’ (white people). But when I asked why I have the privilege to be given one, my colleagues said because they can see I am true and honest in wanting to learn their culture.
 
I have learnt how to sing ‘5 little speckled frogs’ and ‘Heads and Shoulders’ in Burarra Language. I can proudly say that I can sing this by heart without reading. I have been learning phrases in Burarra language that I use to communicate to the children and their grandparents. I write all the phrases down and make sure that I use them every day, so I won’t forget.
 
Last week, Maningrida celebrated ‘LURRA festival’ this means ‘Live together, Share together, Work together’. Before the festival officially opens, there was a ‘Smoking Ceremony’. This means we respect and remember the past Elders and that they are with us in spirit. We walk around the smoke to smoke ourselves then the festival begins.
 
My Indigenous workmates have been teaching me how to dance their local dance ‘Yam Dance’. We practice the dance at work. On the day of the Festival, I danced along with them. Now they see me walking on the street, they say, “Hey I like your dance!’  
 
I can’t wait to go back to my base centre and bring new ideas, cultural understanding and practices and to support Goodstart in strengthening our cultural knowledge and reconciliation journey.
 

Goodstart

Posted by Goodstart
23 November 2021



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