Community Engagement: Welcoming USS Ronald Reagan Sailors

From left to right: President of Inala Elders Aunty Pat, Forest Lake Councillor Charles Strunk, Inala Community House Community Engagement Team Manager Haley Kiata.

On Monday 24th July 2017, Inala Community House Community Engagement team joined Inala Elders Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) Corporation to welcome the USS Ronald Reagan crew in learning about Australian local aboriginal culture.

The USS Ronald Reagan had docked at Brisbane for its sailors to enjoy a few days of shore leave.

We were excited to host about 50 of these American sailors at the Inala Elders centre (91 Poinsettia Street, Inala QLD 4077), as part of their great Brisbane tour organised by A.I.F. Memorial No. 289 (http://www.uglq.org.au/lodges/masonic-memorial-centre-brisbane/aif-memorial-no-289).

We have invited the American sailors to visit Inala Elders to respectfully acknowledge and learn more about the history of our First Peoples. Our land has a lot of history from World War II when America and Australia joined military forces. To all Americans who visit Australia, you are not a stranger or a guest – but a dear cousin to us. We appreciate your visit and hopefully you are all enjoying yourselves,” said Gary Alpert of A.I.F. Memorial No. 289 in a welcoming speech.

USS Ronald Reagan sailors were invited to watch and then join in on Inala Elders’ cultural dance performance. Everyone had fun singing, dancing, making friends and exploring cultural differences.

Cultural exchange has great benefits for one to gain deeper understanding of yourself and others. We also hope that these sailors will be able to bring home and share what they have learned about our unique Australian aboriginal culture!

A happy group photo.

We call ourselves the ‘Ronald Reagan Travelers’. This is my fourth time visiting Brisbane but mingling with the locals for the first time ever. Our crew really appreciates this wonderful opportunity and everyone is having a great time,” said one of the sailors who referred to himself as EJ.

Thank you everyone for coming today. A special thank you to Inala Community House Haley Kiata for helping us to make this event a great success,” commented Inala Elders staff Terri Hill.

Today’s event was a real eye-opener for everyone involved. Inala Community House is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Inala Elders in welcoming these American sailors. We are proud of representing Inala and celebrating the unique richness of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures,” said Inala Community House Community Engagement Manager Haley Kiata.

We welcome you to join Inala Community House’s various free, fun and beneficial programs to serve all members of our local community. For more information, contact us now: www.ich.org.au | info@ich.org.au | (07) 3372 1711.