“Thank you to our distinguished guests – including the Carmelites, Principal’s and Heads of Sport from ACC schools, Paddy McKenna from the ACC, representatives from the Old Collegians, Jason Jones and Cyril Rioli – for joining us at our 2019 Indigenous Celebration Day luncheon.
National Reconciliation Week has focused on the theme ‘Grounded in Truth – Walk together in courage’.
I have had the privilege to have walked together with indigenous students, staff and members of the community in my involvement in education, playing sport, coaching, travel and community.
It has been a journey for me to learn about indigenous people, culture, history, traditions and beliefs. I have been challenged and enriched by the stories; stories that have educated, connected, invited new learning; stories that have made me courageous to stand with those of indigenous heritage so the voice can be heard and respected.
Reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. At the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community. To foster positive race relations, our relationship must be grounded in truth.
We must challenge to overcome racism and segregation as a society. We must continue to educate and stand up for all cultures, particularly the indigenous people of Australia. Challenging conversations, unlearning and relearning what you know, requires all of us to walk together with courage.
Listening and understanding from others through dialogue and story is important for reconciliation. It is through open communication, tolerance and respect that can lead to healing historical wounds.
Yesterday’s celebration offered an opportunity for us to come together as a community, to recognise the indigenous culture and story, and to celebrate the diversity in our society. There is much to celebrate and be thankful.
Football allows us to bring people together to share their own story, to challenge assumptions, to foster respect. Raising awareness through the welcome to country ceremony, indigenous jumper and Pastoral Care class discussions about culture, tradition, and assumptions assists with reconciliation.
As a passionate Hawthorn supporter, I have been fortunate to have experienced success and seen some amazing footballers. In my eyes, there have been no better to excite and thrill the Hawthorn faithful than Cyril.
Cyril, you provided me with many wonderful memories during your career – your influential tackle of Corey Enright in the 2008 Grand Final against Geelong, the 2009 goal of the year against Essendon, or your 18 disposal, 2 goal, and chase down tackle of Eagle Mark Hutchings in the 2015 Grand Final. The chant of ‘Cyril’ when you were awarded the Norm Smith is etched in my sporting memory.
Cyril, you cited family and the land for what some considered a premature retirement from the game. It is this story of family, your land – Tiwi Islands and the Northern Territory, your community involvement, and your culture that we thank you for sharing.”