Attended by Elders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students as well as senior staff including Vice Chancellor Ian O’Connor, Dean (Academic) of Health Debra Henly, several Heads of school, the walk began by crossing the Smith Street bridge, circling the campus and ended in a barbecue.
John Graham, local Kombumerri man and Griffith Learning Assistance Officer performed the welcome to country and reminded those assembled why Sorry Day is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and why reconciliation is important for all Australians.
“from offices and classrooms along the route.
“I was really impressed at the Gold Coast turnout and was especially pleased with the turnout of international students, just coming along and learning what this day is all about,” Mr Graham said.
“Lots of senior staff, students, academics and administrators have come along and it shows the great support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at Griffith.”
With nearly 200 Indigenous students, Health has the highest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and Professor Henly was accompanied by nearly all her Gold Coast based Heads of School
“The Health Group is very committed to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and reconciliation is an important part of that strategy,” she said.
“This Walk and Talk is an important representation of how the Health Group is trying to reach out to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and ensure they feel part of the Griffith community.”
Head of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor Elaine Duffy has introduced specific Indigenous health units into the Nursing degree and was an enthusiastic supporter at the occasion.
“History tells us a great deal about the separation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, especially in the health area. Students need to have a greater understanding of how history and culture can affect health outcomes,” she said.
The former remote area nurse began her career in Australia at the Borrooloola clinic in the Northern Territory, straight off the plane from the UK, and believes nurses need to experience some of the culture of their Indigenous patients if they are to be effective.