Much loved Elder deepens Flinders connection

Kaurna Elder Uncle Lewis Yarluburka O’Brien has joined Flinders University as its newest Senior Elder-On-Campus.

Uncle Lewis’ appointment follows those of Larrakia and Wurramungu Elder Richard Balang/Japaljarri Fejo at Darwin campus, and Arrernte Elder Dr Pat Miller AO at Alice Springs in June this year. The new roles are part of a University-wide initiative to engage more deeply with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, enhance Indigenous perspectives across education and research, and enrich support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff – aligning with Flinders University’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) launched in June this year.

Uncle Lewis Yarluburka O’Brien

Uncle Lewis has a long affiliation with Flinders University, welcoming guests to country at many events and frequently sharing his knowledge and cultural advice, including as a valued contributor in the development of its inaugural RAP. He is also honoured by an annual event launched this year in National Reconciliation Week, the Uncle Lewis Yarluburka O’Brien public lecture.

“We are delighted to have Uncle Lewis join us in this expanded capacity,” says Flinders University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous), Associate Professor Simone Ulalka Tur.

“Our Elders-on-Campus appointments are vital to deepening the University’s engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, enhancing Indigenous perspectives across our education and research, and enriching the support we are able to offer our Indigenous students and staff.”

When on campus (approximately once a month), Uncle Lewis will be based at Yunggorendi in the Tjilbruke student lounge, where he will be available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff in a cultural advisory capacity.

He will also work strategically with stakeholders across the University in the implementation of the RAP.

Uncle Lewis has worked tirelessly with schools, universities, communities, and government agencies for more than 30 years to embed a Kaurna presence into Adelaide’s cultural landscape, and his research has contributed enormously to the endurance of the Kaurna language.

Uncle Lewis is known for his warm mentorship of Aboriginal children and families, combined with his rich political contributions and leadership across heritage, arts, sport, reconciliation and education.

At Flinders University, he has been involved in reviews of centres, as Elder on the Indigenous Health Professional Education Advisory Committee, and was Patron/Elder-in-Residence to the Indigenous Preparation for Medicine program.

For any enquires please email Alison Hughes, Elder Liaison.

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