Senior Student and head of our TCAC student committee, Patrick Bates, calls out some of Trinity's initiatives that help work towards reconciliation, but also calls for more action.
It would be remiss of us to forget that, although Trinity celebrates its 150th year in 2022, Indigenous peoples have lived, owned, and nurtured the land on which the college now stands for millennia. Therefore, throughout our tenure, the TCAC has remained committed to acknowledging the history and supporting the future of our First Nations students and friends.
I believe that it is our responsibility in reconciliation to continue to uphold the values and traditions of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation. Trinity’s First Nations student committee – Kumergaii Yulendji – provides a powerful voice for Indigenous knowledge and experience – one the TCAC will always look to promote.
In doing so, we aim to further the initiatives that celebrate our Indigenous community. The College’s newly established Pay the Rent program ensures that a portion of funds allocated to TCAC social events is reallocated to a local charity or Indigenous organisation. In this way, students are encouraged to recognise and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land our campus stands on and that we now enjoy.
Similarly, Trinity continues to be passionate about teaching and embedding traditional Aboriginal games such as Buroinjin into our sports calendar. With a proud team, we hope to extend an appreciation for Indigenous sport across each of the university colleges. The TCAC also recognises the importance of sustainability in preserving and upholding the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung peoples’ belief in environmental custodianship.
Although we are proud of our initiatives, we must recognise and accept this year’s theme for Reconciliation Week – ‘Be Brave, Make Change’ – as a challenge to do more.
On the fifth anniversary of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the TCAC and wider college community accept that reconciliation demands further action. In building a safer and more inclusive environment, we must remain focused on gaining a greater understanding of the lands on which we live, the people with whom they are connected, and the diverse stories of our Indigenous Trinitarians.
By Patrick Bates