In September and October 2015, after a series of pre-departure workshops and a smoking ceremony to send them on our way, 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law and humanities students (from the University of Adelaide as well as from Flinders University, University of South Australia, La Trobe University and the University of New England), are visiting four Universities in New Zealand and Canada to meet Maori and First Nations students and academics and to explore key themes of central importance to Indigenous peoples around the world: Sovereignty and land rights, Legal and political recognition, Culture and Identity, Leadership and Activism, and Criminal Justice. They will be led by Associate Professor Alex Reilly and accompanied by an Aboriginal staff member from the University of Adelaide’s Aboriginal Education Unit, Wilrtu Yarlu.
The Adelaide Law School’s Study Tour offers an important opportunity for future Aboriginal leaders to deepen their knowledge of their own Aboriginal culture and history, and the culture and history of others. With this knowledge, students will be in a position to reflect deeply on the significance of their own culture in their lives, and to connect to a global sense of Indigenous identity.
The course and tour are a deeply personal journey for the students. They will experience the welcome and hospitality of entering a foreign land, and experience being displaced from their own land. On the tour, the students will be sharing their experience of being Indigenous on traditional lands and in culturally significant places – in the Waipapa Marae at the University of Auckland, in the Longhouse at the University of British Columbia, while participating in a ‘Sweat Lodge’ event on Vancouver Island and while being guests on the land of the Musqueam people in Vancouver.
The tour will enable the students to learn of the range of experiences of being Indigenous in these places, and it will challenged them to reflect upon their own identity as Aboriginal Australians in light of these engagements. On their return from the tour in October, students will be encouraged to share their ideas for reform with Aboriginal leaders and leaders in government.
The Adelaide Law School thanks the Law Foundation of South Australia Inc for their generous funding of the law students participating in this tour.