Secondary navigation

Woppaburra welcome CQUni visitors for cultural competency training

Woppaburra welcome CQUni visitors for cultural competency training

Published:06 February 2018

TOP: Woppaburra Elder, Chrissy Doherty, welcomes Professor Sally Ferguson and CQUni staff by performing an ochre ceremony. BELOW: Highlights of the activities.

Thirty-six CQUniversity staff members recently embraced the chance for cultural competency training in an idyllic island setting.

The staff from the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, the Office of Learning & Teaching, and Office of Indigenous Engagement travelled to the North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre.

Training was delivered by Woppaburra elders, the traditional owners of North Keppel Island (known as Konomie).

The principal presenters included Jewel Rogers, who is the Cultural Competency trainer for Queensland Health and also a CQUniversity research student. She was assisted by Dr Sonny Van Issum from Griffith University.

Also present were Chrissy Doherty, granddaughter of Konomie, one of the last residents of North Keppel, and Angela Vietch from Education Queensland.

Staff were welcomed to the island with a traditional greeting and ochre ceremony.

The training session included a powerful simulation of dispossession and destruction of cultural heritage.

Despite the 34 degree heat, participants then walked on country, helped build a traditional hut (durra), wove rope, and learned how to make fire without matches or petrol.

One of the participants, Professor Sally Ferguson said "it was an absolute privilege to be welcomed by the Woppaburra traditional owners onto their land and sea country".

"Their willingness to share first-hand their heartbreaking stories of the past, and their hope for the future was inspiring."

Participant Dr Crystal Kean said "it was an eye-opening, emotional day particularly through the simulation activities which illustrated the devastating loss of cultural heritage but also hope for the future".