AUSTRALIAN Catholic University’s (ACU) Brisbane indigenous unit and Mt St Michael’s (MSM) College, Ashgrove, have won the Queensland Premier’s 2010 Reconciliation Award.
Premier Anna Bligh, at the award ceremony in Brisbane on May 27, said the award winners were paving the way for reconciliation in Queensland.
ACU’s Weemala Indigenous Higher Education Unit began working closely with the school in 2007, when college students and ACU indigenous students met to discuss social justice issues.
Weemala academic coordinator Dean Duncan said the partnership has continued to strengthen, with students meeting regularly to share stories, ask questions and support each other.
“Meeting in an informal setting has provided a space for the students to find common ground and increase their understanding of each other’s cultures,” he said.
“Indigenous people have a desire to share their culture and stories with the wider community, and especially with young people. If we can develop strong partnerships with schools and colleges, we can ensure young people are equipped with an understanding of indigenous issues, so they can drive future change.
“This partnership with Mt St Michael’s College has given us the opportunity to understand what the younger Australian generation think in terms of indigenous culture, issues and history.”
Ashleigh Grant-Wakefield, a member of MSM’s social justice council, said principal Alison Terrey talked often about “positive attitude and hearts filled with gratitude” so visiting the Weemala unit had been an extension of that.
“The purpose of our visits is to gain an understanding and cultural acceptance of the indigenous community,” Ashleigh said.
“In doing that we’ve learnt about sacrifices students at Weemala make to attend university. The students come from remote areas in Australia and visit ACU campus once a term for assessment.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.