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Indigenous Futures

From a bored high school student to a respected community leader

Haydon Staines, a proud Indigenous man, went from being a bored high school student to becoming a respected community leader. It was a path that often took him out of his comfort zone. That path included graduating with a Bachelor of Education from Charles Darwin University. Now Haydon is helping to Close the Gap* as a school Vice Principal. Read on to find out about Haydon’s inspiring journey.

I'm the first in my family to go to uni

Beth is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Canberra. In 2017, Beth took the first step in her journey to becoming a lawyer, by completing CDU’s free Tertiary Enabling Program. These days, Beth is well on the way to achieving her dream; she’s finishing her Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law degree online, while working as a legal intern at a law firm in Brisbane.

International scholarship for Elinor’s Indigenous policy study dream

Elinor’s focus on her studies recently paid off when was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s International High Achiever Scholarship to study a postgraduate degree at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. At 22-years-old, Elinor is one of the youngest students in her class, but she’s on a decidedly advanced study path—a Master of Public Policy that she’ll use to address Indigenous disadvantage.

Finding the elusive little people

Tales of fairies, elves and “little people” are common folklore around the world, but despite their ubiquity they are rarely seen. Their names differ, but beliefs passed across generations are rich with stories that feature these elusive beings. South Africans talk of tikoloshe, evil dwarf-like spirits; Hawaiians have forest-dwelling menehune; the Irish speak of the mischievous leprechaun. Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies Dr Curtis Roman has examined the beliefs about little people from an Indigenous Australian perspective. Growing up in Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory, Dr Roman is a Larrakia man and first heard about little people when he was a young boy.

From high school dropout to law valedictorian

Mark dropped out of high school in year 10. Fast forward a few years: he holds a law degree, is involved in countless legal education and community initiatives, was named NT  Young Achiever of the Year in 2017 and nominated as Indigenous valedictorian of his graduating class at CDU.  His valedictorian speech will inspire the most uninspired. Here's what he had to say. 

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Meet CDU's Indigenous female Trailblazers

As part of CDU's NAIDOC Week program, we celebrate the achievements of the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who have made a substantial contribution to, and impact on, this University.  From its very foundations, Indigenous women have contributed to making this University what it is today – they have inspired, driven change and shown pathways for staff and students, and we proudly acknowledge them all.   Read the inspiring stories of eight amazing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who walked ahead, but always together, through the history and future of CDU.

From bridging course to Mechanical Engineering

When Rikki Bruce graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering* from CDU, she was nominated by her lecturers as a valedictorian for her outstanding personal achievements and academic record. Here's her full graduation speech, where she shares her determination to create a better future for her family.  * This course has been replaced by the Bachelor of Engineering Science.

How Gabby is forging a legal career, even against the odds

Success is not determined by your past but by your own perseverance. Gabby's story sounds like a Hollywood movie script, but we can assure you, it's real life. She didn't finish high school and as a disadvantaged youth, she found herself homeless. Decades later, after raising her own children, she's fulfilling her dream to study a law degree and fight for youth, Indigenous and human rights.

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It's not what you start with: Mark's journey to studying law