Every ANZAC Day we stop to remember our fallen soldiers but for true dedication to the ANZAC spirit, nothing can beat the Aranda Tribe Ride for Pride.
Ntaria is a small, remote Aboriginal community in the Aranda country of central Australia, and like many remote communities, Ntaria School faced poor student attendance. However, according to Ntaria School principal Cath Greene, the unlikely key to increasing both attendance and respect for the ANZACs was introducing horses into the school curriculum.
“We introduced horse training in 2012 as a way to get kids re-engaged in school,” Cath said.
“School attendance has improved and it is now part of the school curriculum, with students using the horse programme to learn literacy and numeracy skills. Students are writing stories about horses as part of their schoolwork and some students are even filming their rides as part of their course requirements.”
As the students’ abilities in horse riding and caring improved, they met Aboriginal man Raymond Finn, whose grandfather served in the Australian Light Horse Infantry. Raymond highlighted the role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers played in the Light Horse and the students decided they wanted to honour the role of Indigenous soldiers in the Light Horse Infantry in World War I.
As a result, the Aranda Tribe Ride for Pride was born, with 26 students travelling over 120 kilometres from Ntaria to Alice Springs to ride in the Alice Springs ANZAC Day Parade.
The eight day journey involves students taking it in turns to ride the horses or walk, camping along the way. The students were accompanied by Lofty Katakarinja and Jeremy Moketarinja, two male cultural mentors and female mentor Melanie Inkamala, and while the students have been greatly affected by their involvement in the Ride for Pride, Cath sees that everyone in Ntaria has been moved by the programme.
“I’m seeing students increasingly treat each other as equals as this programme has gone on but it is hard to describe the massive level of pride felt by the whole community,” Cath said.