The founder of the youth-run Indigenous Communities Education and Awareness (ICEA) Lockie Cooke and program coordinator Kimberley Benjamin met with the Commissioner's staff today to talk about the programs the organisation runs to promote reconciliation in Western Australia.
The meeting was scheduled to recognise National Reconciliation Week 2013 which commenced on 27 May.
Lockie described how a high school trip to the Kimberley, where he was taught spear-making and mud-crabbing skills by locals, opened his "eyes and heart to Indigenous culture".
Noticing a lack of sports equipment and libraries at Beagle Bay, Lockie asked elders how he could help. They said improving attendance at school was vital and this resulted in the remote communities program being developed in 2007 – ICEA's first program.
In recent years, ICEA has expanded to include Waves – a surf mentoring program that pairs Indigenous young people with non-Indigenous surf mentors, and Marja Mob – that encourages young leaders to work together to promote cross-cultural awareness.
"We're a youth organisation, we live and breathe the concept of reconciliation," said Lockie.
The Commissioner congratulated Lockie on ICEA winning the WA Youth Awards' Innovate award that recognises a youth-led organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the community and inspired others to participate actively in community life.
Lockie said he was keen to pass on ownership of ICEA programs to as many young people as possible.
Kimberley Benjamin, who coordinates ICEA's Marja Mob program in Perth and is studying journalism at Curtin University, talked about how much she enjoyed supporting cultural engagement through ICEA.
A new project, ICEA Yarn, is aiming to improve cultural awareness among school children using young reconciliation ambassadors.