American Indian culture and education discussion by Beverly FentonThe AHO had a special guest come over from the United States. Beverly Fenton, a North American Indian woman from the Anishinaabe tribe has worked in the education sector for many years to help American Indian students. Over the last years she has created more opportunities for students to succeed. To list a few achievements:
University of Utah
• Initiated the first American Indian Student Program
• Tripled American Indian student enrolment
• Established new internships and procured numerous scholarships
Colorado State University
• Published article in Journal of American Indian Education
• Increased retention from 20% to 46%
During her visit Beverly shared her experiences with the AHO because Indigenous students in Australia face the same problems as American Indian students in the United States. On the 14th of March, Beverly shared her knowledge about culture and education during a presentation at the Stanton Library in North Sydney. Numerous people attended the presentation, also a large group of school children were present, and a lot of interesting questions were asked which made it a very successful event.
The AHO is grateful to have had Beverly at the office and wants to thank her very much for the wonderful presentation.
As the Close the Gap day is coming closer (22 March), several schools are organising events related to this day. Year 10 Aboriginal Studies students of Killara High School are very interested in the Close the Gap initiatives and that’s why Head Teacher David Browne organised a Close the Gap event on the 19th of March. He invited classes from three other High Schools from the Northern Beaches to get as many different perspectives as possible. The students had to create posters with the issues which are important according to them. Afterwards, Karen Smith, our Education Officer, talked to the students about the Close the Gap campaign. She gave some general information but also asked the students to think critically when talking about the campaign and especially when looking at statistics related to health issues of Aboriginal people.
The students were very creative in making posters and they were looking beyond the health issues and also addressing other problems which should be taken seriously such as unemployment, incarceration and, maybe even more important, attitudes of people towards Aboriginal heritage and culture.
Cammeray Public School
The Cammeray Public School celebrated Harmony Day on the 20th of March. On this day, all cultures and languages are given equal attention and respect. The children were wearing clothing from their country of origin or descent. Karen Smith was asked to do an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ to honour and respect the Aboriginal people who first lived in the area of the school.