Bilawara Lee is a respected Larrakia Elder who is acknowledged internationally as a community communicator, healer and teacher of ancient wisdoms. She has more than 30 years' experience in the areas of education and health and is an internationally published author.
The Larrakia academic-in-residence is responsible for providing a range of culturally informed guidance, direction and support to CDU’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff and stakeholders. The position is part of a range of commitments CDU have made to formally acknowledge the Larrakia people as the traditional owners of the land on which Casuarina campus stands.
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.
Ms Lee’s role enables her to be a cultural mentor and to further build a sense of community and belonging for Indigenous and non-Indigenous CDU students and staff. Working with the support of the Larrakia people and the broader Indigenous community, Ms Lee provides advice on cultural practices and protocols and shares Larrakia culture, lore and language.
The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership appointed the first Larrakia academic-in-residence in May 2016, three years after the signing of an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU was intended to strengthen the relationship between CDU, the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the Larrakia Development Corporation.
This position recognises 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.