One year into our RAP – and moving forward

A message about Flinders University’s reconciliation process from the RAP Co-chairs, Professor Jonathan Craig and Associate Professor Simone Ulalka Tur.

Flinders University is celebrating its one-year anniversary of the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, grounded in the concepts of togetherness, reciprocity and respect.  At the heart of committing to reconciliation is the building of respectful relationships and a shared responsibility to make change and take action collectively.

While the University’s journey of reconciliation is in its first year, we have seen many initiatives and deliverables being progressed. Some of the highlights include: the filming of Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremonies conducted by Kaurna (Bedford Park), Larrakia (Darwin) and Arrernte (Alice Springs); the inaugural annual Uncle Lewis Yarluburka Public Lecture; RAP Forum: Sharing our stories; sharing broad University RAP initiatives and Elders Forum: Padninthiyangga Ngadluku Purkgku on what reconciliation means, and Knowledge of the Land: Speaking for Country. There are also many localised College and portfolio RAP initiatives being achieved.

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling announced the Flinders University Reconciliation Staff Award recognising outstanding efforts of individual staff and/or teams in leading activities or projects that promote reconciliation. The award is open to all staff, including academic and professional staff, and nominations are welcome across the breadth of University activities. Up to three awards will be presented and will awarded as part of the University’s annual ceremony.

As you walk around the University you will see staff and students wearing the symbolic and visual expression of the journey of reconciliation through the wearing of beautiful Reconciliation Pins. We encourage you to continue to commit to reconciliation. National Reconciliation Week (NRW) celebrations (May 27-June 3) is a time to reflect and look forward at the University’s efforts and achievements, its ongoing dedication, and aspirations to enact reconciliation. Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word: Reconciliation take Action, calls on organisations to act braver and enact more impactful action.

We invite you to take action and participate in the University’s reconciliation events and external reconciliation activities. Thank you for your commitment.

Message from the Elders-On-Campus – Uncle Richard Fejo, Uncle Lewis Yarluburka O’Brien and Aunty Pat Miller

“There is an old saying that happiness is not a destination but a way of life. Reconciliation is the same, we need to think about reconciliation in the same way. Reconciliation needs to become our way,” says Uncle Richard Fejo, Larrakia Elder-On-Campus, Darwin.

Our message to staff and students of the University is we invite you to walk with us, so reconciliation becomes our way as a University.  To realise Flinders University’s collective vision requires generosity of spirit, courage, integrity and truth telling as a foundation to work toward a shared future.

We are inspired by the University’s commitment, its path to Reconciliation and know that this is a human endeavour where the fostering of respectful relationships and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and contributions becomes part of the fabric within the University.

We know our connection to Country through Indigenous knowing, being and doing offers significant insights to the University community.

“Once you learn to know and love your country, you can then speak for Country,” says Uncle Lewis Yarluburka O’Brien, Kaurna Elder-On-Campus, Bedford Park. “By knowing country, you will learn to love and nurture what you have and not be envious of others. We have to travel the country, we get knowledge of the country, and then we can speak for country and we tell our young ones all about country.”

Aunty Pat Miller, Arrernte Elder-On-Campus, Alice Springs, says “Our Country is recognised as our Motherland. This is where our attachment has been for thousands of years and knowledge has been passed down to us from our immediate family, our Elders and our family. A shared understanding means we can walk side by side.”

Posted in