The National Catholic Education Commission’s (NCEC) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education network group met in iutrwita (Tasmania) in nipaluna (Hobart) last week to connect, take time for formation and progress their national work plan.

Hosted by Catholic Education Tasmania (CET) under the leadership of CET programs system manager Rosa Connell and musician, artist and curator AJ King, the network visited kunanyi (Mt Wellington) to be welcomed to Country by Tasman Langford. At the summit of kunanyi the group gathered to pray together acknowledging God’s presence.

NCEC faith formation and religious education officer Laura Avery said the beauty of kunanyi provided the group with the opportunity to appreciate and make connections to Country.

“Over the day, the story of Tasmania and connection of Aboriginal people was shared, as well as much of the injustices of dispossession and cultural suppression but also of the hope for healing and reconciliation,” Laura said.

“We were privileged to share a meal together at Palawi Kipli and enjoy a modern take on traditional foods and learn more about the strong connection to land and food as part of culture and history.”

NCEC acting deputy director Joanna Mackie said the network meeting was an opportunity to extend the practicalities of the national work plan addressing Catholic identity and First Nations spirituality, learning and teaching, and family and community partnerships. 

“The work plan identifies a number of immediate priorities and projects for Catholic education nationally and aligns with NCEC’s strategic priorities and Closing the Gap,” Jo said.

The network collaborates with state and territory Catholic education peak bodies to support closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in literacy and numeracy, while promoting a sense of belonging and expectations for success at school.

Top: NCEC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander network group at kunanyi and sharing a meal together. Bottom: NCEC acting deputy executive director Joanna Mackie and senior manager of Aboriginal Education for Catholic Schools NSW Sharon Cooke. Images courtesy of Catholic Education Tasmania and the National Catholic Education Commission.