Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education

02 November 2009

FIRE Carrier (Friends Igniting Reconciliation through Education)

Melbourne Girls Grammar, has lodged a RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) with Reconciliation Australia. Opening the Doors Foundation (OTDF) is launching a FIRE Carrier Project to promote and encourage reconciliation in Victorian schools and support partner schools on their Reconciliation journey.

Fire is at the Heart of Aboriginal Culture

FIREThe gathering of people in a circle around the fire is for the calling of people together for cooking, eating and warmth at night. It is used for smoking the people and the land when gathered for important ceremonies. It is around the fire that stories are told and the law was taught. Fire is at the heart of Aboriginal culture. In the Aboriginal community fire represents the spiritual connection for the individual to Mother Earth and the Ancestors. And so it is fire that represents the learning, teaching and your schools journey towards Reconciliation. 

The Fire Carrier

A student is elected annually in the same manner as other school representatives to become the FIRE Carrier. If your school has a social justice group or reconciliation committee, they can collectively become FIRE Carriers. It's important to note that the FIRE Carrier is not limited to Aboriginal students.

  • The FIRE Carrier is announced to the school community at the same time as other school representatives. An Aboriginal person from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry should be invited to the assembly to perform a fire ceremony as part of the school celebration.  This will include inviting the nominated student to gather around the fire and asking that student for a commitment to become the FIRE Carrier, after which the student is presented with the symbolic Flame. 

    The following year, this ceremony will be repeated with the previous FIRE Carrier invited to pass the Flame to the newly elected FIRE Carrier. The name of previous FIRE Carriers will be engraved in the Flame which will be gifted to the school as a symbol of their commitment and partnership with Opening the Doors Foundation.
  • The FIRE Carrier will represent students on the schools Reconciliation Planning Committee. Reconciliation responsibilities should be undertaken by the schools Reconciliation Planning committee and not only sit with the elected student.

Carrying the FIRE with ACM and OTDF

The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (ACM) aims to be perceived as an Aboriginal Community recognised for the commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait peoples having their rightful place in the Church and the wider community.  Inspired by the Gospel we are committed to the dignity of each person to open hospitality, to truth telling about dispossession and to be a place of connection. We work for reconciliation, in partnership with those who believe that there can be an alternative to the present order. Led by the Creator Spirit we are a community of Memory and Hope committed to Truth and Reconciliation. 

ACM and OTDF Commitment to your school:

 

  • We will give assistance with drafting your Schools Reconciliation Plan
  • We will continue to share our cultural wisdom and knowledge of the local Aboriginal community
  • We will provide ongoing information to the FIRE Carrier
  • We will promote your school as a Reconciliation Partner
  • We will promote your school within the local Aboriginal community
  • We will share our resources including Dreaming in the City and A River Dreaming art exhibits

As a school that commits to being a FIRE Carrier you recognise that national issues exist locally and in doing so you give an ongoing commitment to the Opening the Doors Foundation in the school:

  • to educate the school community about the local Aboriginal story
  • to promote the Foundation throughout the school community
  • to volunteer for the Foundation’s annual gathering
  • to fundraise for the Foundation
  • to continue to use the fire stories within school ceremonies