In the September school holidays Teya, her husband Dan and their children Elijah, Eden and Misha visited the Kabulwarnamyo community in Arnhem Land to see their school, Nawarddeken Academy, in action. Elders of the community shared their vision for the school as a key part of their larger vision for cultural regeneration and the success of their families and children. By delivering an education that is bilingual, bi-cultural, community-led and driven by experiential learning, the Nawarddeken Academy strives to demonstrate that children can receive a high quality and culturally relevant education on country that will equip them to thrive in both Indigenous and mainstream cultures. 14 year-old Elijah’s blog below captures the essence of this healthy, vibrant environment.
My trip to Kabulwarnamyo was truly inspirational and has changed my life. I expected the community to be very small and have strong English teaching without a lot of the culture. This however was extremely false. The community had many sacred sites that were incredible to visit. They had many rock paintings on the walls of where their ancestors used to live. A particular painting was very special to me. It was of a kangaroo and was painted by the founder of the community. He understood that he did not have much longer left so he decided that he had to go and paint one last painting so he could be remembered. The rivers and water holes were also amazing. They were as clear as diamonds and sparkled in the sunlight. It was incredible to be welcomed to country and to these amazing landmarks. The children at this community were all so happy and smart. Although they were all under 11 years old they were all amazingly talented. What was very special to me however was how strong they were with their culture. They all spoke the language and were able to sing special songs taught by their ancestors. The kids were all so happy and it was clear how much they loved school. I loved teaching the kids because they were never out of energy and always wanted to learn more. I was very sad to leave but am so excited to come back.