A program between Elders and teachers that embeds Aboriginal language into a state school community has won the major honour at tonight’s 2019 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mossman State School and Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group had been awarded the Partnership Award and the overall Premier’s Reconciliation Award for their initiative, Respect and Consultation: Honouring Kuku Yalanji Language at Mossman State Primary School.
“This initiative is a wonderful example of the benefits we see when we approach reconciliation as a community,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Kuku Yalanji Elders and Mossman State School staff have developed a program that has given the community a place for truth telling and acknowledgement of past wrongs, a place for Kuku Yalanji students to be proud of their heritage and culture, and a pathway for understanding.
“2019 is the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages and this program exemplifies how healing and learning can come from restoring languages and sharing culture.
“Acknowledging our history and valuing the knowledge of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples is key to our reconciliation journey.
“I congratulate Mossman State School and Kuku Yalanji Language Advisory Group for their commitment to nurturing a true partnership that has such positive outcomes for their community.
“Tonight we recognise them as a shining example of how respectful relationships and collaboration can help forge the path for reconciliation and a more inclusive society.”
The partnership was one of 16 inspiring and innovative initiatives recognised and celebrated at a ceremony in Brisbane as the winners and finalists of the 2019 Queensland Reconciliation Awards.
The Premier said the Queensland Reconciliation Awards celebrated businesses, community organisations, educational institutions and partnerships that were taking positive steps towards reconciliation across the state.
“My congratulations go to this year’s category winners for their contributions to reconciliation in Queensland and for their role in strengthening our communities,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council won the Community category for the Yarrabah Band Festival, an annual event attracting visitors to the community, fostering cross-cultural collaboration by breaking down perceived barriers to engagement with Indigenous communities and providing career pathways for the region’s musicians.
Australian BlackCard Pty Ltd (The BlackCard), which provides cultural capability training, consultancy services and cultural tours to help people and organisations to work effectively with members of the Aboriginal community, won the Business category.
Bald Hills State School won the Education category for Turrwan Circle: Walking in the Footsteps of the Turrbal People, which has provided a platform for Indigenous students and families to become valued and respected members of the school community.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said this year’s award recipients were truly inspirational.
“The strength and diversity of initiatives honoured by these awards demonstrates the support for reconciliation in cities, towns and communities across Queensland,” Ms Trad said.
“We all shoulder the responsibility for reconciliation and it is encouraging to see so many businesses, community groups and educational organisations taking up the charge and leading the way.
“Reconciliation is ongoing, it’s an opportunity for truth-telling and there is always more to be done.”
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch presented the 2019 Queensland Reconciliation Awards on the Premier’s behalf.
“As a proud Quandamooka woman originally from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), it has been an enormous privilege to present the 2019 Queensland Reconciliation Awards,” Ms Enoch said.
“Each and every one of this year’s winners and finalists deserve recognition for their hard work and genuine commitment to reconciliation.
“These are the organisations that are building true partnerships between First Nations Peoples and non-Indigenous Queenslanders to create opportunity in our state by acknowledging the past and working towards a more inclusive future.”
Johnathan Thurston, 2019 Queensland Reconciliation Awards Ambassador, also extended his heartfelt congratulations to the finalists and winners.
“I’m so honoured to be Ambassador for these awards and have the opportunity to witness what’s being done across the state to create meaningful change and positively impact the lives of Indigenous Queenslanders,” Mr Thurston said.
“This year’s winners should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved—they are certainly well deserving of this accolade.”
The Queensland Reconciliation Awards is an initiative of the Queensland Government through the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
The awards are supported by BHP, Lendlease and ABC Radio Brisbane and Queensland.