Indigenous students from 14 Australian Universities will gather in Cairns this week (Sunday 23 to Friday 28 September) to contest the 17th National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games.
Hosted by James Cook University, this year’s Games will be launched on Sunday with a traditional welcome to country and a game of puloga — an Aboriginal game of mock battle, in which players aim to hit their opponents with soft balls.
Professor Stanley Nangala (Head of JCU’s School of Indigenous Australian Studies) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Stephen Weller (Head of the Cairns campus) will join JCU’s Indigenous student association Buma Nguma Barra, and Yirrganydji Elder Jeanette Singleton in welcoming the competitors to Cairns.
Professor Nangala said the Games were an important opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to meet Indigenous students from across Australia and to celebrate a healthy lifestyle.
“JCU has more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, from undergraduate level to doctoral candidates. University life involves a lot of hard work, but it’s also about making great friends – the Games are a chance for our students to meet Indigenous students form other unis and share their stories, and for us to cheer our teams on.”
Dr Weller said JCU was proud to be hosting the games after the Cairns team competed for the first time last year, when the National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games were held in Melbourne.
“The Games are designed to promote participation, rather than elite sport, with mixed teams playing netball, touch footy, basketball and volleyball,” Dr Weller said. “They’re about friendly competition and promoting health and fitness, but of course I do look forward to our Cairns students winning.”
Education student Neerim Callope said competing at last year’s Games in Melbourne was a real eye-opener. “It was surprising and uplifting to see so many proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people come together and play a week of sports and begin to build friendships. That’s what these games are all about.”
Issued September 21, 2012
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