Early this May WIC was host to a ceremony held to welcome Professor Patricia Davidson into her new role as UOW’s Vice-Chancellor.
While it’s important to her to make a connection with all staff, Vice-Chancellor Davidson reached out to WIC with a particular interest in strengthening the connection between the university and its Indigenous students, staff, and the wider community.
“UOW is incredibly lucky to have a centre dedicated to maintaining the culture and success of our Indigenous students, and I was excited to meet with the people who are committed to achieving this,” she said.
“Being welcomed through a traditional smoking ceremony was truly an experience I will never forget. It was an honour and a privilege to receive such a warm welcome and I am inspired by the wisdom and knowledge of our First Nations peoples. The traditional welcome was an amazing way for me to start on this new path of leadership.”
Academic developer and Indigenous lecturer Jade Kennedy led the ceremony for the Vice-Chancellor and UOW staff members participated in ceremony.
The welcoming ceremony, which included a smoking, is performed with the intention of removing any bad spirits and energies that sit within a person, cleansing and preparing them for whatever they’re undertaking within the environment they’ve been welcomed into.
“When we say bad spirits, we’re talking about things like doubt, or we’re speaking about those things that get inside of your head. We’re speaking about any illnesses that we may be carrying, and these can be physical, mental, or spiritual,” Kennedy said.
“The act of smoking is the way in which we remove these things through the medicines that are present within the leaves that we’re using.”
Woolyungah Indigenous Centre staff member, Andrew Sulter said ‘having a space on Campus to provide Ceremony is unique and something we as a Blak community take seriously. It was great to have Trish accept our offer to participate in ceremony.”