Griffith University is leading the way in creating meaningful educational and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples — walking the talkforNational Reconciliation Week.
Staff and students will come togetherfor aseries of eventsacross all five campuses,includingmarket days,the annual ‘walk and talk’ from Mt Gravattcampusto Nathan,reconciliation concerts and film screenings.
Theprogram of eventscelebratesstrides already made towardsreconciliation andmapsout the journey to a more just, equitable Australia.
Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans saideveryonehad a role to play inthe reconciliation process.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to gather together on campus once again to celebrate National Reconciliation Week,” Professor Evans said.
“This year marks almost three decades of the formal reconciliation process in Australia.
“We recognise that reconciliation is a shared process and every Griffith student and staff member can help create a better, more inclusive Australia.”
“Weacknowledge the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples inGriffith’shistory and culture and the importance of respectingtheirknowledge, culture and talent.
“We are also taking action to create a strong framework to teach Indigenous content, ensure cultural competency in our degrees and increase our numberof Indigenous academic and professional staff.
“It is vital that we maintain an open dialogue and continue to strengthen our relationship with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to achieve this.”
Griffith hasone of thelargestIndigenous-student populationsof any Queensland university, and the second largest number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic staff in Australia.
Queensland College ofArtstudent Dylan Sarrais completing a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art at Griffith.
The proudGoorengGoorengmanhas just been nominated for aTelstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art AwardandsaidReconciliationWeek was a chance toacknowledge the past and shape the future.
“Every week should be Reconciliation Week, but it’s nice to come together to reflect on our country’s historyand share ourstories,” he said.
“For me, art is the perfect vehicle tostartthoseconversations about reconciliationand help educate people about the issues.”
Griffith UniversityPro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous), Professor Cindy Shannonsaidthe University’s rich and diverse historymade it a natural champion for reconciliation.
She said it was vitalGriffithcontinued to make impactful change to promotea better future for all.
“I think we’re a long way down the path to reconciliationand we’veachieved some wonderful outcomes,” Professor Shannon said.
“Last year, Griffith University graduated more First Nations students than any other university in Queensland.”
“We need tomake sure we continue toattract,support and graduate Indigenous students. Ensuring what we teach and how we teach indigenous issues is another important element.
“It’s about thinking what we can do to contribute practically to reconciliation in this country.”
Indigenous Research Unit (IRU) Director Dr BiancaBeetsonsaidGriffith had a key role to play in the reconciliation processby strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in Australia.
“Education is key to creating understanding,” Dr Beetson said.
“Griffith has made a significant investment in First Nations people across the University, and that has included strengthening the First Nations voice and giving us a seat at the table.
“We’ve also made leaps and bounds in the Indigenous researchspace andhave started creating pathways for FirstNationsstudents into academia and opportunities to collaborate with industry partners.”
This year is the 15th anniversary of the launch of Griffith’s Statement on Reconciliation – a public declaration of the university’s commitment to promoting an environment that values the traditions, protocols and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In the years since then, Griffith has establisheda network designed to support First Nations peoples, including theGUMURRII Student Support Unit,Indigenous Research Unit(IRU),Office of Indigenous Community Engagement, Policy and Partnerships (ICEPP)and the first ProViceChancellor(Indigenous).
The theme for National Reconciliation Week2021 is ‘More than a Word’ and the week is bookended by two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey, the successful 1967 referendum (May 27) and the High Court Mabo decision (June 3).
Staff and students can register for events online.