MORE than 300 people embraced Aboriginal culture, song and dance at the Town of Bassendean’s fourth Dandjoo Koorliny Reconciliation Gathering today.
Primary school students, residents and elders enjoyed performances by Maar Koodjal Aboriginal Dance Group, Kiara Girls Academy and rapper Jaydan Ahmat at the annual event at Mary Crescent Reserve in Eden Hill.
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There was also a tree-planting ceremony featuring Bassendean grandmother Lyn Cox and her grandson Che Cox, storytelling, boomerang throwing, a cultural workshop and food provided by Cyril Jackson Senior Campus students.
The event followed this year’s National Reconciliation Week’s theme of ‘Don’t Keep History A Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow’.
Elder Allan Kickett, who delivered a welcome to country, said the gathering promoted friendship.
“We acknowledge the changes made in the justice system but there is much left to do,” he said.
“Despite all this, we as Aboriginal people are inclusive people and we can find forgiveness, open up our hearts and shake hands to call this conflict off – we need to build bridges.”
Bassendean Mayor Rene McLennan said it was important for children to explore Aboriginal history.
“When I was a child, I learnt virtually nothing about the first people of this land … I’m sure many others have had a similar experience,” she said.
“I want my children to grow up understanding more than I did about our country’s story and what has shaped it to be the Australia that we experience today.
“I hope they are curious and want to understand our Aboriginal brothers and sisters more, so we can strengthen as a community and move forward together.”