Mabo Decision: 30 years on Message from the Vice Chancellor

Message from the Vice Chancellor

JCU Vice Chancellor Simon BiggsJames Cook University’s association with Eddie Koiki Mabo is an incredible legacy for the University. JCU played an important part in Koiki’s fight for Land Rights, providing the environment and context in which discussions could be had, and staff and student involvement in the coordination of the original conference that sparked the legal action.

JCU is dedicated to reconciliation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is proud of our shared history, as expressed in the University’s Reconciliation Action Plan and the amazing work being done by our Indigenous Education and Research Centre and many others at JCU. The recent gifting of traditional language names by Traditional Owners for our campuses gives firm expression of our presence on Country, a significant acknowledgment of the land on which we live, work and learn.

But there is always more to do. The challenge for us looking forward is how we build on and ultimately champion equitable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2022 we proudly acknowledge the role JCU played in the fight for land rights and the overturning of the legal premise of terra nullius. In this year too, we consider what role JCU can play in future considerations of reconciliation, hearing the voices of our First Nations people to build a future that is based on truth-telling, and full of hope, empowerment, self-determination, mutual understanding and respect.

We are committed to working towards the achievement of genuine and sustainable reconciliation between Indigenous Australians and the wider community. We believe that a commitment to the ongoing process of reconciliation is vital to achieving a better future for all Australians.

JCU still has an important part to play in the future journey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and we will do so with the utmost respect and dedication.

Simon Biggs,

Vice Chancellor, JCU