Friday, 29 June 2012
Each year, ECU celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous Australians with several activities held during National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week.
The celebrations will begin this evening at the Joondalup Campus Art Gallery with the unveiling of a unique collaboration between Chinese artist Gao Xu Yong and Nyoongar artist Sandra Hill, commissioned by ECU.
The piece features the Nyoongar mythological creature Wagyl (also known as the Rainbow Serpent) and the Chinese dragon. The artwork depicts the creatures’ similarities and their importance in defining their respective cultures.
Activities will continue into next week with flag raising ceremonies on Monday, 2 July, daily short film screenings and cultural workshops for staff.
But celebrating Indigenous culture is not something ECU does just one week each year. A central focus at ECU is to continually develop a better understanding and empathy of the rich Indigenous history which has developed, it is believed, over 50, 000 years.
An example of this commitment is the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which we launched in 2011 and has already demonstrated success. This includes the Rock Solid Foundations Tribute: seven granite pillars at the Mount Lawley Campus that represent the 501 ECU Indigenous alumni, including the first Indigenous ECU graduate, Len Hayward.
NAIDOC Week is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Indigenous people within our community. It is my great pleasure to congratulate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity and Indigenous) and Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, Professor Colleen Hayward AM, who was included in this year’s Queen’s Birthday 2012 Honours List.
This is an outstanding achievement. It is pleasing to have a member of the senior leadership team, who for decades has been working to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, recognised for her work by the Queen.
I encourage the University community to join with Professor Hayward and our colleagues at Kurongkurl Katitjin as we celebrate Indigenous Australians and reaffirm our ongoing commitment to their rich and diverse culture.
For more information on NAIDOC Week activities and to register your attendance, visit the Kurongkurl Katitjin webpage.
Professor Kerry O. Cox *
* Professor Kerry Cox was Vice-Chancellor of Edith Cowan University from March 2006 to September 2014.