For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people NAIDOC Week is the highlight event of the year bringing together mob to celebrate culture and share stores.
Coming off the back of COVID, many families in community understand the importance of NAIDOC 2022.
Originating amid the Aboriginal rights movement of the 1920s and 1930s, NAIDOC Week is grounded in the history of the courageous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who fought for civil rights at a time when the topic was anything but mainstream. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities continue to face immense challenges as a direct result of colonisation in this country.
With newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promising to commit in full to the Uluru Statement of the Heart in the first sentence of his victory speech and with a record number of First Nations parliamentarians, this year’s NAIDOC theme, Get up! Stand Up! Show Up! resonates with current times.
It is evident that we are seeing change and we all need to be part of this shared journey.
At Torrens University Australia, one of our major guiding principles is ‘Be Good’. These two words represent our pledge to lead with care, respect, and purpose in all our pursuits.
With 300+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying with us, we continue to celebrate and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture across everything that we do.
In 2022, we will continue our journey towards reconciliation with the implementation of our second reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and focus on what this means for staff, students and, most importantly, how we impact our communities.
In the spirit of reconciliation, we have continued to collaborate on projects that bring both Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff and students together.
Collaborating with our design vertical, we have run work integrated learning projects demonstrating our understanding of Dr Tyson Yunkaporta’s 8 ways of learning through working collaborative with community organisations.
We are always exploring ways across the organisation to include First Nations perspectives into projects across the board.
In an organisation first, we have recently employed two new First Nations Identified Academic Roles, Senior Learning Facilitator and Learning Facilitator roles in our Health Sciences Team. These roles were only open to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander academics which contributes to our commitment to reconciliation. We pledge to ensure Torrens University Australia is a desirable place for First Nations peoples to work and study and these roles are a vital step forward.
We have also acknowledged the need for continued student and staff yarns, and we will commit to this over the next six months, both to engage with students and staff and share stories.
NAIDOC Week is a time to celebrate, so I encourage you to experience a community event in your local area.
By showing up you are supporting communities and doing good.
Reflecting on the past year and what we have been achieving, we are making inroads, and this makes me proud.
Here’s to a celebratory NAIDOC Week 2022, and I hope to share many incredible achievements highlighting our commitment to embedding more Indigenous knowledge into curriculum across all faculties and increasing our number of First Nations students and staff by next year’s NAIDOC Week.