In June, the 27th Indigenous Nationals event will be proudly hosted by Monash University at its Clayton Campus. This annual gathering will witness student-athletes from various universities across Australia competing in a range of sports, vying for the title of champion. Beyond celebrating the vibrant sporting culture of Indigenous Australia, Indigenous Nationals serves as a platform to honor the heritage and histories of the participating student-athletes.
With over 500 Indigenous student participants from 33 Australian universities, this year's Indigenous Nationals event at Monash University's Clayton Campus in Naarm promises to be the largest edition to date. The event, originally known as the National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games, was inaugurated in 1996 at the University of Newcastle's Wollotuka School for Aboriginal Studies. It has since evolved into a week-long multi-sport competition for Indigenous student-athletes under the management of UniSport Australia.
Basketball, Netball, Touch Football, and Volleyball will be the featured sports at Monash Sport, Clayton Campus during the event. Renowned as Australia's largest university, Monash University has a strong reputation for organizing high-quality sporting and cultural events. In addition to Monash Sport's state-of-the-art sporting facilities, the William Cooper Institute of Monash University will play a significant role in ensuring the success of the event.
Jamil Tye, the Director of the William Cooper Institute and a proud Yorta Yorta and Boon Wurruung man, expressed immense excitement about hosting the Indigenous Nationals at Monash University. The William Cooper Institute has actively contributed to the program's design, prioritizing the incorporation of cultural elements that recognize and respect the local Traditional Owners.
Situated in Naarm, approximately 20 kilometers southeast of Melbourne's CBD, the Clayton Campus offers a rich tapestry of sporting, cultural, and educational events and facilities. Its legacy includes a proud history of fostering collaborative research projects.
Cameron James, a proud Boandik man, Monash University student participant, and co-team manager for 2023, described the Indigenous Nationals as a vibrant gathering of culture and sport that fosters the sharing of histories and the celebration of Indigenous communities coming together. He highlighted the electric and welcoming atmosphere, driven by a bit of competitive spirit, which encourages connections and conversations among participants. For James, the most cherished aspect of the games lies in the incidental interactions that occur throughout the day, leading to the formation of meaningful friendships.
Professor Sharon Pickering, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Senior Vice-President (Education) at Monash University, emphasized the institution's commitment to celebrating the rich sporting culture of Indigenous Australians. Monash University has a proud record of over 50 years of Indigenous programs and engagement, making it the university with the longest history of involvement in Indigenous education in Australia. Recognizing that there is more work to be done, Professor Pickering acknowledged the privilege of hosting the 2023 Indigenous Nationals as an opportunity for Monash to contribute to the transformative educational experience of First Nations students and promote positive change.
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Photo Courtesy Monash University
Courtesy Monash University