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For the pre-schoolers of Forbes Preschool and the students at Maclean High School in New South Wales, learning the history and culture of their local Indigenous communities is part of their everyday curriculum.

Now, they’ve been recognised for this exceptional commitment to reconciliation at the biennial Narragunnawali Awards.

Narragunnawali, from the language of the Ngunnawal people, means alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace.

The national Awards are for schools and early learning services that have implemented outstanding and genuine reconciliation initiatives.

They’re also part of Reconciliation Australia’s the Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education program which with the support of BHP Foundation, is helping foster positive change towards reconciliation in Australia.

Speaking at the Awards, Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said she was impressed by the calibre and creativity of the nominees this year.

‘The important work these children, students, teachers and broader communities are doing is part of a broader movement of Australians learning, unlearning and relearning our shared histories in schools and early learning services around the country,’ she said.

Narragunnawali is available to all schools and early learning services in Australia via an online platform.

Almost 45,000 registered users are now on the platform with nearly 5,000 schools and early learning services working towards developing their own Reconciliation Action Plan. That’s a 71 per cent increase, representing one in six of all schools and early learning services across the country.

For BHP Foundation Chief Executive James Ensor, Narragunnawali helps build knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

‘Too many generations of Australians have grown up without an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and very limited awareness of the true histories of Australia,’ said James.

‘The Narragunnawali program is trying to change this…and that’s why we’re proud to support it.’

To find out more about Narragunnawali, watch this short film.   

The BHP Foundation supports the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and nations through programs that enable and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ Voice and Choice. Read more about BHP Foundation. 

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