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NAIDOC at Monash University

NAIDOC celebrations will be conducted at Monash University between the 16th and 19th July and as a Taungurung Elder and a member of the Monash Indigenous Advisory Committee I was honoured to be invited to attend the official Acknowledgement of Wurundjeri Country. The University has organised Vicki Nicholson-Brown to deliver a speech acknowledging that the University is situated on Wurundjeri land. Staff and students have been invited to participate in the formal Smoking Ceremony following the official welcome. The theme for this years NAIDOC is 50years - looking forward looking blak.

The program for the week include an Indigenous Film Festival, guest speakers talking about reconciliation and land rights. Along with Bernadette Franklin I have been invited to demonstrate possum skin cloak making. I understand that other workshops include traditional basket making and wood burning. A group of young dancers from the Dandenong area will perform.

From my experience Monash has a strong commitment to Indigenous education. Prof. Lynette Russell, the director of the Centre actively supports and encourages all Indigenous students to further their skills and knowledge. She said that more Indigenous people should pursue higher education as there are few Indigenous lecturers working in Universities and those who have higher qualifications are quickly snapped up by competing Universities. My work on the Advisory Committee has been both rewarding and iinteresting. Working with faculty heads and members of the wider Indigenous community has identified many of the difficulties our people experience in achieving equality.