Lessons from Yani

Yani and another man were the first ones out in the surf on a bright spring morning -within half an hour of this photo, there were 20 kids out there - getting the confidence to go out there by watching the 'trail blazers'!

Slow Mother Blog
Lessons from Yani

I read a media statement recently that said:
"Few people who are truly confident in status, intellect and security (emotional,
financial, social or other) need to resort to bullying."

To me, this speaks volumes...

It's been heartening to observe Pacha and Yani challenge bullying instinctively,
compassionately and often turn upside down the phrases that may normally be deemed inappropriate. Yani (and Pacha) looks more ‘indigenous’ than many of the indigenous people in his school

For me, it is a mark of pride to be associated with the first peoples of this land – despite their heritage coming from a different part of the planet.
With our deep ecology world-view and constant nurturing of our connection with the Earth, it fits in with the way we live.

Yet still, in this country, to be aboriginal is deemed as a kind of handicap – especially to economic and social ‘success’. Government policies attempt to address this with special programs and funding to support indigenous children etc, but fundamentally the values modern society teaches our children goes completely against an indigenous worldview.

So Yani and Pacha, despite being constantly mistaken as ‘Aboriginal’ seem to have been able to develop a sense of their unique self that they feel proud of and that doesn’t
limit them in making their way in this world in any way.

Yani told me recently that his teacher (a local Bundjalung Aboriginal man) had told him, in a light-hearted, complimentary way: 'you're black'. Yani responded with: 'no,
I'm golden'.

He told me another great story that happened at school yesterday. Apparently they were studying the sea turtle in class and the teacher was asking them what the greatest
dangers were to it. Other kids said: sharks, sea-gulls (eating the hatchlings),
boats etc. Yani said: ‘Humans’. The teacher said ‘no – it’s plastic bags’.
After the class the teacher apparently came up to Yani and said that actually
he was right, it was humans, but that if he said that it may be hard for some of
the other kids to understand and may upset them.

I was so happy that Yani’s insight was rewarded, or at least not squashed completely, by a teacher who must grapple everyday with the disconnects between a mainstream education curriculum and the real world.

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