Issue 8
Monday, 23 May 2016
Charles Darwin University
Larrakia woman Bilawara Lee is CDU’s first Larrakia academic-in-residence
Larrakia woman Bilawara Lee is CDU’s first Larrakia academic-in-residence

CDU names Larrakia academic-in-residence

By Leanne Miles

A respected Larrakia Elder who is acknowledged internationally as a community communicator, healer and teacher of the ancient wisdoms of Aboriginal spirituality and healing has been appointed as Charles Darwin University’s first Larrakia academic-in-residence.

Bilawara Lee has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of education and health and is an internationally published author.

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership Professor Steve Larkin said the position recognised the importance and respect given to the custodians of knowledges in Indigenous societies and demonstrated the commitment to Indigenous knowledges in CDU’s learning, teaching and research.

“The Larrakia academic-in-residence will be responsible for providing a range of culturally informed guidance, direction and support to CDU’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff and stakeholders,” Professor Larkin said.

He said the position was part of a range of commitments at CDU to formally acknowledge the Larrakia people as the traditional owners of the land on which Casuarina campus, the headquarters of CDU, is built.

“CDU formally acknowledges the Larrakia people on both the Casuarina and Palmerston campuses through a range of material and symbolic signage, cultural representation and ceremony,” Professor Larkin said.

“The Larrakia academic-in-residence role is one that is highly respected and brings with it immense cultural knowledge, wisdom and responsibilities.”

Ms Lee said she was looking forward to engaging with the CDU community to further build a sense of community and belonging for Indigenous and non-Indigenous CDU students and staff.

“I am honoured to have been selected for the position, which recognises the important roles and responsibilities that custodians of country have within Indigenous societies,” Ms Lee said. “I will be working with the support of the Larrakia people and the broader Indigenous community to provide advice on cultural practices and protocols and share Larrakia culture, lore and language. I look forward to the opportunity to be a cultural mentor to staff and students of CDU.”

The position is part of a historic memorandum of understanding signed to strengthen the relationship between CDU and the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the Larrakia Development Corporation.

The agreement outlines CDU’s formal acknowledgement and recognition of the Larrakia people and its commitment to the ongoing development and strengthening of the relationship between all parties.