Title

Indigenous culture celebrated during NAIDOC Week at Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 7-6-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place

Fremantle

Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, was the special guest at the 2011 NAIDOC Week celebrations at The University of Notre Dame Australia’s Fremantle Campus on Monday, July 4.

During his talk on the 2011 NAIDOC theme, Change: the next step is ours, Mr Gooda recited a poem that illustrated a time when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people might become unified.

The poem titled Son of Mine, written by late Aboriginal leader Oodgeroo Nunukul (Kath Walker), acknowledged Australia’s past and its hope for reconciliation in the future, according to Mr Gooda.

Notre Dame staff, students and community members gathered in Malloy Courtyard to recognise and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In her Welcome to Country, Nyoongar Elder, Marie Taylor, called on the Australian people to create a society void of prejudice and disunity, saying “I am, you are, we are one people”.

Ms Taylor and Torres Strait Islands representative, Naomi Pitt, presented the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands flags to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Celia Hammond, and student representative Peter Dawson.

The flags were escorted from Malloy Courtyard to Mouat Street and raised alongside the Australian flag as Derek Nannup played the didgeridoo.

The flag raising ceremony was concluded with a speech from Mr Gooda who spoke of the need to develop stronger and deeper relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians to assist reconciliation efforts.

Notre Dame’s NAIDOC celebrations continued with a keynote lecture by Mr Gooda and a special screening of the award winning Indigenous film Mad Bastards.

In her opening address, the Vice Chancellor said it was up to all Australians to uphold the NAIDOC message and take a step forward in its relationship with the country’s first peoples.

“As a Catholic university, we seek to encourage all within our community to act for the promotion of the common good,” Professor Hammond said.

“We also seek to ensure that our community and the individuals in it provide a visible witness to all that is good, proper and just.”

Head of Indigenous Health Curriculum at the Fremantle Campus’ School of Medicine, Associate Professor Clive Walley, says NAIDOC Week highlights the diversity and uniqueness of the Australian culture.

“The important thing for me is having a university that is very supportive and shows strong leadership in providing ways of learning about Indigenous culture here in Fremantle,” Associate Professor Walley said.

NAIDOC is the acronym for ‘National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee’ and is now the title of week-long activities to celebrate Australia’s Indigenous culture.

Media Contact: Leigh Dawson (+61) 8 9433 0569, Mob (+61) 0405 441 093