Narragunnawali News contains information about reconciliation in Australia, ideas for driving reconciliation in schools and early learning services, and highlights of great things happening in schools and early learning services across the country.

9 Aug 2016

Reconciliation in the Media

From May to July, National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week events were held across Australia to celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and our nation’s reconciliation journey. During this period, many stories celebrating and reflecting on these themes were shared across social, print and digital media. Use the below news stories as conversation starters with colleagues, parents and students to help think about what reconciliation means to you and your school or service community.


Coinciding with National Reconciliation Week, this year’s Vivid festival transformed the sails of the Sydney Opera House into an animated canvas of Indigenous art. This celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality and culture focused on the songlines of our land and sky. The theme of NAIDOC Week was also Songlines and prompted Guardian journalist Paul Daley to discuss how the concept of Songlines challenges non-Indigenous Australians’ thinking about history. NITV also recently released a landmark documentary series called Songlines on Screen, which is an ideal resource for classroom discussion.

Conversation starter: How can Songlines inform and challenge the way non-Indigenous people learn and think about Australian history?

Stronger Smarter approach

Professor Chris Sarra was recently named NAIDOC Person of the Year at the 2016 NAIDOC awards in Darwin. Chris was the first Aboriginal principal at Cherbourg State School in South East Queensland in 1998, where he developed his ‘Stronger Smarter’ philosophy. The philosophy encourages students to be both strong in their cultural identity and smart by making the most of their educational opportunities, and has proved to have dramatic outcomes. Chris went on to establish the Stronger Smarter Institute which promotes the Stronger Smarter approach with teachers, educators and community leaders across the country.

Conversation starter: What are some of the core strategies of the Stronger Smarter approach and why are they seeing such success?

Success for Indigenous candidates in the federal election

A record number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates ran in the federal election on 2 July, with the current proportion of Indigenous Members of Parliament almost being representative of the general population. Among the successful candidates are WA Labor Senator Pat Dodson, NT Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Ken Wyatt (who retained the seat of Hasluck in WA) and former NSW deputy Labor leader Linda Burney, who claimed victory in the southern Sydney seat of Barton. Burney made history as the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the House of Representatives and the first woman to win the seat of Barton.

Conversation starter: Who are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders of your local community?