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Bond University celebrates First Nations' cultures

Vice Chancellor Tim Brailsford, Nyombil Centre Coordinator Paul Martin, Uncle John Graham, Indigenous Outreach and Cultural Support Officer Oscar Davis, student Sam Savage, Indigenous Student Success and Wellbeing Officer Teresa Blair and Provost Keitha Dunstan.

Grey skies and a cold snap could not dampen the spirits of students and staff who marked the beginning of NAIDOC Week on campus with a moving Welcome to Country and flag raising ceremony.

Aric Kruger from the Yugambeh Youth Choir set a poignant tone, performing three songs including the national anthem in an Indigenous language.   

Bond University Elder, Uncle John Graham said NAIDOC Week was a chance to pay tribute to First Nations’ cultures and contemplate the country’s history.

“It’s also a chance to reminisce about some past injustices,” he said.

“But at the end of the day it’s about enjoying the week together as a nation and to reflect on what’s happened and what we can do in the future.

“For me it’s about truth-telling, making sure there are a lot of Australians who become more aware about the beauty, and the knowledge and the cultural and spiritual expressions that we have as First Nations people to share with everyone.”

This year’s theme Get Up, Stand Up, Show Up encourages all Australians to support the constitutional rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

With the Uluru Statement from the Heart firmly on the agenda in Canberra, Uncle John is advocating for a cautious approach to ensure a referendum is successful.

“I hope it’s not done until 2024 because that will give the whole of the Australian population as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the chance to nut it out to ensure it’s not a failed exercise.

“We don’t want it going to a referendum and it gets beaten, because it won’t happen again for another 40 years,” Uncle John said.

Bond University is holding 11 NAIDOC Week events.

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