Angelika, an Aboriginal student, recently gave an inspiring presentation to ICMS’s staff and faculty on the importance of bringing the Indigenous voice to class and campus. Her vision for a reconciled future, fuelled by hope, courage, and optimism, resonated with her audience.
This year’s theme, ‘Be a Voice for Generations,’ encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in everyday life.
“As an 18-year-old, first year student with an Aboriginal heritage, it’s a huge honour to be invited to speak to you all on a topic which I am passionate about,” Angelika said in a speech at the recent ICMS Faculty Day.
Angelika is of German and Aboriginal descent, and can trace her roots to the Wiradjuri people from the three rivers area of New South Wales.
Taking her cue from the call to ‘Be a Voice for Generations’, Angelika highlighted areas where ICMS, and other higher education institutions, can further acknowledge and embrace Aboriginal customs and traditions.
“As the youngest members of the oldest continuous culture in the world, we want our teachers and college staff to understand that trauma can be passed down through generations. The Aboriginal people have endured a tragic and violent history, and these wounds take time to heal,” Angelika said.
She explained that, for example, some Aboriginal students cannot identify their ancestral land or language because their parents were taken away during the ‘stolen generation.’ “This is deeply unsettling for young people who are figuring out their identity and place in society”, she said.
“It’s crucial to recognise that intergenerational trauma is real and can have a profound impact on Indigenous students. By acknowledging their history and supporting them through their healing journey, we can create a more equitable and inclusive learning environment.
“Together, we can work towards a brighter future that honours the rich culture and resilience of Indigenous peoples.”
Angelika highlighted that it is essential to have an understanding of Indigenous protocols. Understanding and awareness helps to create a more inclusive and culturally aware environment.
To achieve this goal, she proposed implementing Cultural Awareness programs on campus which would not only provide insights into Aboriginal culture but would also share other cultural protocols. “This could take the form of a Masterclass or a series of fun activities throughout the term,” Angelika suggested.
Through regular exposure to Aboriginal culture, history and traditions, Angelika hopes that the spirit of reconciliation among all Australians can extend beyond the designated “Reconciliation Week”.
“We don’t want our culture to be forgotten. We want our culture, heritage and stories to be weaved into life on campus in other ways too,” Angelika said.
“Our ICMS Northern Beaches Campus is in a place of great historical significance and amazing natural beauty. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have always had a deep connection to the land – and also a profound respect of the land.”
As a recipient of the ICMS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Scholarship, Angelika thanked ICMS for the opportunities that this scholarship represents.
“I would like to say how grateful I am for this support and recognition. I hope that this program will flourish and be able to offer more opportunities to students like myself in the future.”
For more information on Reconciliation Australia, click here.
For more information on ICMS, click here.
To connect with Angelika Auerbach, click here.
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