Wominjeka – a Welcome to Country for all University staff and students
“Wominjeka is the Woi-Wurrung word for welcome,” explains Head of Murrup Barak Institute for Indigenous Education Charles O’Leary, “and so we invite all staff and students to join together to hear from Aunty Di Kerr, who will give us an official Welcome to Country on behalf of her people, and offer a smoking ceremony.”
With the 2017 academic year now well underway, and classes set to begin for all students next week, Mr O’Leary says it’s a perfect time in the academic calendar for our whole community to pause to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and their Elders past and present, upon whose land we study and work, and our Indigenous students and staff.
“Welcome to Country is an important custom for Australian Indigenous people, and carries with it the responsibility of those visiting to do no harm to the environment and to the people who are its traditional custodians,” Mr O’Leary says.
“The University’s Wominjeka offers non-Indigenous staff and students the opportunity to learn about the great culture of Australia’s First Nations people, and to take pride in the resilience and existence in this place of the world’s longest continuous culture.”
Format will be some words from the Vice-Chancellor, Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Auty Di Kerr, speakers representing the staff and student body, guest speaker Professor Shaun Ewen, dancers, and a special Didjerido performance by Kiernan Ironfield, Murrup Barak's team leader for Indigenous Student success.
Children from the University Childcare services will be participating, as will a number of Elders from local Indigenous communities.
Wominjeka will take place on Thursday 30 March at 12.30pm at on the Union/Concrete Lawn.
Read about the University’s commitment to action for Reconciliation and how you can be involved.