ELDERS from Canberra’s four indigenous communities have given ANU the name, “Kambri”, for its new central meeting place, which will replace old Union Court next year.
Representatives from the Little Gudgenby River Tribal Council, Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation, King Brown Tribal Group, and the Ngarigu Currawong Clan presented the gift to vice-chancellor Prof Brian Schmidt at the university’s annual State of the University address.
At the event Prof Schmidt said for thousands of years, Aboriginal people came together, shared stories and learnt at the places people now call ANU and Sullivans Creek.
“Kambri will be a meeting place like no other in the world, providing a space for Indigenous culture to live within the social fabric of ANU and the greater Canberra community,” he says.
“It will be a place for local Aboriginal people to share family stories along the rejuvenated Sullivans Creek and grow local bush food.”
Ngambri elder Matilda House-Williams said the ANU ceremony was important for current, future and previous generations.
“Here on Kambri country I want to express the gratitude and graciousness of all our past and going into the future,” she said.
Ngunawal elder Wally Bell said the naming was significant, and it was important to allow people to learn about Aboriginal culture.
“It’s quite significant that the usage of the name Kambri is being given a bit more prominence, especially at ANU. It’s a place for learning and we need people to learn about our culture,” he said.
In his State of the University address, Prof Schmidt launched the ANU Reconciliation Action Plan, which aims to increase the number of Indigenous students and staff at ANU and ensure the university is at the centre of indigenous research.
“This is not a timid document,” he said. “I want to see ANU become the destination of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intellectual leaders to undertake research and to contribute to policy making.”