Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans said the two events were always important dates on the University’s calendar and this year’s theme – In This Together – rang true year-round.
“We recognise the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in our history and culture and the importance of respecting Indigenous knowledge, culture and talent,” Professor Evans said.
“Continuing to work towards reconciliation is integral to the sustainability of the University, as we look to provide a more coherent framework for teaching Indigenous content and cultural competency in our degrees and creating appropriate cultural training for students and staff, while increasing our numbers of Indigenous academic and professional staff.
“It is essential we maintain an open dialogue and continue to strengthen our relationship with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to achieve this.”
Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous) Professor Cindy Shannon said Griffith’s Strategic Plan demonstrated a clear focus on outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Griffith has a proud history of recruiting Indigenous students, and we’re one of the leading universities in Australia in terms of Indigenous student enrolments,” Professor Shannon said.
“We want to ensure that we retain and graduate those students, and there is a unique opportunity for Griffith to play by leading the role in closing the gap in terms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education outcomes and economic participation.”
GUMURRII Student Success Unit Director Cheryl Godwell-Pepper said Griffith was deeply committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ issues and was thrilled about the opportunities the strategic plan presents for students at Griffith University.
“Griffith University is incredibly unique,” Ms Godwell-Pepper said.
“It’s quite a formidable player, but it’s also one that holds itself high around its priorities of being a civic institution; that it is one that’s built on equity, excellence and engagement.
“That’s an important issue for Indigenous people, students, staff and stakeholders.
“It’s really exciting opportunity, especially for me as an Indigenous person, to actually work with students and directly alongside students in that journey.”
First Peoples Health Unit Director Professor Roianne West said Reconciliation Week was a time to reflect on Griffith’s commitment to strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in Australia.
“This is particularly important to the Health Group because it’s about creating space for truth-telling about Australia’s shared history and the impact this had on Australia’s Indigenous people and their health outcomes.”
The University’s campuses cover the land of traditional owner groups of Jagera, Kombumerri, the Quandamooka peoples in Moreton Bay and the Yugambeh speaking language.
Each year Griffith commemorates National Reconciliation Week with activities like the Walk and Talk, where Griffith’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are joined by other members of the Griffith community for a walk through the campuses, fostering new understandings and relationships while paving the way to reconciliation.
Unfortunately, due to current COVID-19 restrictions, physical events cannot be held this year, but Griffith still acknowledges these important dates.