Totem Poles: Indigenous Mentoring Group Project at Yass Public School

Yass Public School and Yass High School deliver a fortnightly Indigenous mentoring group, which we were excitedly able to reintroduce last week after COVID restrictions were eased for public schools.

Our Indigenous mentoring group provides leadership opportunities to our local Aboriginal students and support for the important transition from primary to high school education.

Yass Public School senior primary students were keen to include their high school mentors in our new totem pole project. Each Yass Public School class will create two totem poles, which will be installed in our native garden in our riverbank playground. The Aboriginal students within each class will work with our mentoring group to design and make their totem poles. We have also been very fortunate to have the assistance of Gugan Gulwan, an Aboriginal youth centre in Canberra, which has been providing their artistic expertise and sharing didgeridoo lessons with our male Aboriginal students.

We will keep the Yass community informed with the progress of our totem pole project. We are planning an installation date during NAIDOC Week, which this year due to COVID has a revised date of 8–15 November.

Yass Public School Indigenous mentoring group students busy with their projects
Indigenous mentoring group students working on the totem pole project with our Gugan Gulwan representative
Indigenous mentoring group male students being schooled in didgeridoo with Gugan Gulwan representative and Steven Deronne, teaching support from Yass High School


Story contributed by Lisa Marple from Yass Public School. Published in 2020.