Thanking Country

Thanking Country

“We hear the clapsticks telling us today, that we are on what always was and always will be Aboriginal land.”

Do you and your kids think about the traditional custodians of the land you are standing on?

Kylie Dickson and Leanne Pelikan, Aboriginal Educators in the Department of Education, have developed a short video with the Early Learning team, inviting our youngest Tasmanians to experience an Acknowledgement of Country.

What is an Acknowledgement of Country? It is a way to recognise and pay respect to First Nations peoples as the Traditional and ongoing custodians of the land. It is also a way for us all to connect to Country.

“We wanted to find a way that would excite our little people,” explains Kylie.

Children from Kylie and Leanne’s families helped fill a basket with seedpods, shells, leaves and feathers, which you see in the video. Each item is an invitation for them to explore their senses.

“We thought getting our kids seeing, touching, tasting, hearing and smelling was a great way to get them talking about Country.”

Kylie and Leanne hope families will create their own baskets filled with things from their local area.

“The purpose of the basket is about connection and why we connect to things,” explains Kylie.  “It doesn’t need to be Aboriginal. It could be a rock or a photo. We are trying to educate people that we all have a connection to something”.

Kylie and Leanne want families to use the items in the basket to start a conversation.

  • What is it?
  • Where did you find it?
  • What does it feel like?
  • What does it smell like?

“We’ve all walked past hundreds of shells on the beach and found just one that we really liked,” explains Leanne. “Later we can talk to our kids about where we found it and why we like it.”

“Aboriginal people have always relied on our oral history and storytelling, and this is a part of that,” adds Kylie.

Both women hope that all Tasmanians – young and old – will feel inspired to find out more about Tasmania’s Aboriginal communities.

“Don’t be afraid to say ‘we want to learn about this’. Be brave and kind, ask questions,” urges Kylie.

She recommends connecting with your local Aboriginal community. A great starting point is The Orb website.