International Baccalaureate – Primary Years Program: Personal Histories Reflect Tradition & Culture. A visit from Murrundindi – Aboriginal Elder

Last week my students were visited by an Aboriginal Elder to support our inquiry: Central Idea – Personal Histories Reflect Traditions and Culture. Murrundindi is an Aboriginal Elder of the Wurundjeri Aboriginal People, Yarra Yarra Tribe, of Victoria. He has visited our school many times and is an inspiring Australian.

Our teacher questions/provocations driving this inquiry are:

How does our exploration of personal histories enrich our understanding of different cultures?

How have personal histories been recorded in times and places?

How do personal histories reflect different cultures and traditions?

“My work is to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors by sharing the culture and history of the Yarra Yarra people through traditional dancing, dreamtime stories, music, artifacts, photographs and through our language as spoken in the Dreamtime.”

“The Wurundjeri, also known as the Yarra Yarra tribe, was one of the three tribes that shared the Upper Yarra and Healesville areas. As Melbourne’s traditional custodians of the land and of local Aboriginal culture, the Wurundjeri roamed throughout an area from Healesville to Lake Eildon, towards Westernport Bay and as far as Wonthaggi. Their Nurrungetta, or king, Bebejern was one of the seven tribal leaders who signed the 1835 Treaty with John Batman, which resulted in the establishment of Melbourne.

Murrundindi is directly descended from these two great Wurundjeri leaders via his mother, Gumbri, who has taught him to esteem and honour his Aboriginal heritage. However, the early years of Murrundindi’s life saw him suffer deeply from the  taunts and comments and he had to work hard to overcome the devastation of this earlier discrimination. In his words: “From these childhood experiences I resolved to work towards creating harmony. The children of today are our future. If I can make them understand that we are all brothers and sisters then hopefully one day no child will have to suffer with or experience racism.

His teachings are simple; respect ourselves and respect each other. He says, “We must learn to live and understand ourselves as well as acknowledge and accept each other’s differences. We are all from one race, we just have different coloured skin. We must also respect our Mother Earth who gives us life. If we do not respect her, we will soon not have a home to live in, food to eat, air to breathe or water to drink.” Murrundindi and his People.

Thank you Murrundindi for sharing your personal history with us.

Cheers Nina

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