Dubbo College Reconciliation Walk promotes empathy

DON'T KEEP HISTORY A MYSTERY: Frank Doolan, Leticia Quince, Rod Ah-See, Jacqui Thompson, Harrison Crowfoot, Sophie Butcher, Grace Willis, Lara Board and Dylan Blunt. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
DON'T KEEP HISTORY A MYSTERY: Frank Doolan, Leticia Quince, Rod Ah-See, Jacqui Thompson, Harrison Crowfoot, Sophie Butcher, Grace Willis, Lara Board and Dylan Blunt. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to Australia’s history.

That was the message at Dubbo College’s second annual Reconciliation Walk, which brought together about 1000 students, teachers and community members at Ollie Robbins Oval on Friday.

The event combined an opening ceremony, historical river walk and yarning circles with local Aboriginal elders, all with the aim of spreading the message of National Reconciliation Week: Don’t Keep History a Mystery.

Dubbo College South Campus deputy principal Jacqui Thompson organised the event. She said the students went on an “exploration” of local history, and learned about the interaction between the region’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous inhabitants.

“They say that ignorance is bliss, but it’s not really,” Ms Thompson said.

“I’m of the thought that ignorance causes dissension and division.

“[Today] is about educating and making everybody aware of all the things that the Aboriginal people have been through so that we can have understanding, empathy and we don’t do that again.

“We can have a non-discriminatory and equal society, and work really well together to heal all those hurts.”

Delroy Campus school captain Harrison Crowfoot said events like the Reconciliation Walk could help “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

“A day like today lets people join together and hear the stories about other Aboriginal people, and what it was actually like and how we can get better and closer together,” Harrison said.

Ms Thompson said it was especially important to teach today’s young people empathy, since they would be the leaders and teachers of tomorrow.

“Absolutely!” she said.

“We want to work with them so that everybody understands the culture, the significance of country and significance of different events, and not forget.”