TWENTY-five years of promoting cultural knowledge, understanding and respect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Catholic schools has been celebrated at Ngutana-Lui.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders joined staff from Brisbane Catholic Education Office and current and former staff and friends of the cultural centre at Inala for a liturgy led by Fr Gerry Hefferan.
Ngutana-Lui, which means “to teach” was, and still is, unique in that it was the first initiative by Catholic education in Brisbane and the state to implement Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies in programs from their own perspective.
The centre was established by the combined efforts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council and Brisbane Catholic Education.
The two bodies answered the call for action by all Indigenous community groups and organisations regarding the implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Islander cultural studies and histories in school curricula.
At the time it was felt the establishment of such a unique centre would set a precedent for other centres to open, not only in the state but also in other parts of Australia.
The aim was to promote reconciliation through education, and to develop and enhance cultural knowledge, understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Following the liturgy Fr Hefferan blessed the centre’s new Traditional Story Teaching area, and BCE executive director Pam Betts and Indigenous elder and former pupil of Brisbane’s Lourdes Hill College Aunty Joan Hendriks unveiled a plaque.
Ms Betts said it was fitting the 25th anniversary milestone was marked in such a way.
She said over its 25 years more than 280,000 visitors had participated in the centre’s programs.
“This concept, which began back in the late 1980s as part of a bicentennial project, has grown from strength to strength over the past quarter-century,” she said.
“With the on-going support of Brisbane Catholic Education and those within our communities we are looking forward to the next 25 years.”