KI Football League to host National Reconciliation Week matches

KI DESIGN: The special design by Bailey Gaskin for the KI Indigenous matches.
KI DESIGN: The special design by Bailey Gaskin for the KI Indigenous matches.

Kangaroo Island Football League this week will put the spotlight on reconciliation as part of the National Reconciliation Week across Australia.

KIFL will host a special Indigenous day this Saturday, May 25 to recognise National Reconciliation Week.

Activities centre on the Kingscote and Dudley United football matches at Kingscote.

There will be a Sea of Hands at the gate entrance and an art display at the Kingscote Oval, created by KICE students.

FIRST FOR KI: KICE teacher Hannah Morgan, student Bailey Gaskin and Rigby Barnes from the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy.

FIRST FOR KI: KICE teacher Hannah Morgan, student Bailey Gaskin and Rigby Barnes from the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy.

Umpires will wear special KI-NRW shirts design by Parndana footballer and KICE student Bailey Gaskin.

Bailey was a close contender for last year's Pharmacy Medal and this year was accepted into the SA Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy program to further his studies.

Bailey's acceptance into the college is ground breaking as he is the first Kangaroo Island young person to make this achievement. While continuing his progress towards SACE, Bailey will be working towards Cert III in Sports & Recreation. Read more

KIFL secretary Cathie Tydeman has been organising Saturday's events, together with the Gaskin family.

"As a small league people may be unaware of the place and inclusion of Aboriginal players here as in most leagues and of course the star Indigenous players of the AFL," she said.

"KI's Indigenous story has many roads some of which are steeped in sadness but for the football league we hope to turn to the future and celebrate reconciliation with our players, young, older and from many cultures.

"Part of this looking forward is the use of Bailey Gaskin's own design telling the story of his own KI culture.

"The league wishes to sincerely recognise all its players coming from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and we look forward as a group to launching our own Reconciliation Action Plan."

Many people would know of the efforts of Dudley United Football Club in welcoming with open arms and hearts the young men from the Northern Territory Clontarf program, she said.

This program has run for several years and although initially started to address player shortages in the club strong bonds and friendships have continued.

In the Ninti Media Production "New Island Home", the individual stories of some of these players were told along with insights on the club.

"For many of the young men their stay on the island was the start point for moving on to other positive things but most importantly they developed their strengths to live and grow in communities away from home," she said.

"It is this away from home that finds a theme for us as we know that other Indigenous players in our league are also away from the own country and especially for younger ones this means they are missing out on connection to their own culture.

"Young men who have not been able to return to their own country often miss important steps linked to own communities and while we can't necessarily fix this we can at least show that on Kangaroo Island they are supported and welcomed and we are willing to learn about their culture."

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