Walking in the footprints of our Ancestors

Nippler learning will never stop.

Walking in the footprints of our Ancestors


We are decendents of an ancient people.
Of an ancient land.
We have been here for 1000s of years.
We have learnt to live on and with the land and sea.
Wah – people always look after each other.
Nipplers learners and teachers through our story.
Nippler learning will never stop.

My name is Ciolla Riley, I’m 24 years old, I’m a Djabugay and Kuki Yalandji woman from Kuranda. A small little village up in the rain forest of tropical North Queensland. I left school in 2015 and never really thought about going to university. I don’t know, it kinda seemed hard. I didn’t really believe I could change anything. I felt that time is precious and I couldn’t really see the point. I try not to worry what other people say or think.  If I really want to do it I can do it and I know in my heart I have a lot more to give.

Ah you Djabugay bub, I’m Djabugay too.  My name’s Kootchie, call me Aunty Kootchie. Academic people will say that I am a mature aged student, but I’m a nanna student for you. I’m studying so you can do it and don’t forget our people have been here for a looong time, 1000s of years and we are learners. For too long we’ve been told that we’re no good, we can’t’ do it, but we’re good. I’ll tell you this, it’s not gonna be easy. I struggled at times. I got tired and I felt the pressure. Just keep talkin bub to other students, to staff. They’re all here with you.

I remember being just like you when I first started university.  My name is Nareeta Davis and I’m a Thargomindah woman from Kullilee NSW. I’m now a practicing solicitor, mentor and learning advisor at CQU.  I studied six years by distance, whilst raising two kids working and volunteering in the community. It was really hard work and I had to make many sacrifices to get through it all. CWU helped me emotionally and spiritually to push through and reach the end. Friendship belief and commitment. Remember you’re paving the way, leaving your footprint and the CQU team are right behind you.

I was on that journey. I was a lost young man. I didn’t know where I was or who I am. My name is Ray Rosendale. I’m a Western Kuku Yalandji man and a graduate of the Social Work Honours Degree at  CQU. Aboriginal men, we’re supposed to be warriors. So at first I went and joined the military, because I thought ‘That’s were warriors go’. But at some point I realised, I want to be a warrior for my people. That means I needed to be learning and CQU gave me that opportunity.

I’m the first person from my family to go to university and this is just the start of my journey.  My name is Majella. I’m a 43 year old single mum and proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman studying a bachelor of Paramedical Science at CQU. I put a lot of expectations on myself to succeed, to be a good mum and to keep the fire burning for our mob. You have a choice, you can follow the crowd, or you can walk the path less travelled. I can do this, we’re living proof that dreams become reality