Indigenous course enriches staff knowledge

Victoria University will launch an innovative Indigenous awareness course for staff using stories and experiences of some of its own Aboriginal staff and students.

Entitled Yulendj Wurrung, or Knowledge of the Language in Boowurrung, the cultural awareness training will be available online to VU’s approximately 2000 employees from 15 April.

The course was developed over several years by the University’s Moondani Balluk Academic Unit and its Yannoneit employment strategy, whose mandate is to continually increase Indigenous staff at VU.

The course takes about two hours to complete and contains video interviews with several members of the VU community including Karen Jackson, Director of Moondani Balluk, and Rebecca Gerrett, a lecturer in VU’s Kyinandoo program – the only degree-level course in Victoria that focuses on Indigenous history and culture.

It also includes interviews with well-known Indigenous Australians such as playwright and musician Richard Franklin, and story-teller and artist Ron Murray.

Using a question-and-answer format after the videos, the program focuses on recognising, appreciating, accepting and understanding the differences of Indigenous culture, as well as educating users about Indigenous experiences in Australia before and after European settlement.

It offers thoughtful insight into several confronting topics including the stolen generation and Aboriginal deaths in custody, and pays tribute to influential Indigenous activists.

VU Provost Kerri-Lee Krause will launch the program with a traditional Welcome to Country, performed by Boonwurrung elder Carolyn Briggs, recognised as a keeper of the history and genealogies of her people.

Other University leaders and all Indigenous staff will also attend the launch.

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