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1 Dec 2022

Spotlight On – World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education 2023

WIPCE (via Adelaide Convention Centre)

The World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education (WIPCE) is the largest and most diverse Indigenous education forum in the world.  

From the 26 - 30 September 2022, representatives from across the globe met in Tarndanya (Adelaide), the home of the Kaurna Nation of South Australia. 

Julie Bover (Reconciliation Australia), Prof. Reuben Bolt (Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership, Charles Darwin University) and Nina Ross (Reconciliation Australia) at WIPCE

The theme for WIPCE 2022 was Indigenous Education Sovereignty: Our Voices… Our Futures. Narragunnawali team members Nina Ross and Julie Bover attended the conference which featured an exciting program of keynote presentations, networking opportunities, interactive workshops, yarning circles, master classes through a rich and diverse cultural program. 

The Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, gave a rousing opening speech at the Welcome Ceremony before the Parade of Nations. She discussed truth-telling; our nation’s true history on the Frontier Wars and massacres; how education is pivotal to reconciliation; and spoke of the Government’s commitment to implementing the aspirations in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

Thelma Parker, from Reconciliation Australia, presented the ‘Waterhole Blanket Exercise’ which is the Australian version of the KAIROS Canada Blanket Exercise. This was an audience inclusive workshop that enabled participants to experience the true history of Australia and the impact colonisation has on First Nations Peoples.  

Karen Jones and Catherine Trindall gave the presentation Walking Together, Working Together – Partnership Agreement between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the NSW Department of Education. This keynote looked at the history of the partnership since 1999 and the renewed 2020-2030 agreement.  It focused on best practice for state-wide community involvement from early childhood to adult education.  

Dr Jennifer Caruso, an Eastern Arrente woman, drew from her PhD thesis titled The Colonial Gaze and the Marketing of Half-Caste Girls analysed how representations in mission newsletters in the 1940’s and 1950’s of young Aboriginal women on Croker Island can be read as an assimilation marketing strategy. 

Hayley McQuire, CEO of National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition and a Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman also MC’d the Official Opening of the conference with Professor Mark Rose. She gave a keynote talk Voice/Youth, which inspired educators in the audience to remember that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education can be student-led and pedagogical innovation dates back to ancient ways of being, knowing and belonging.  

Professor Mark Rose, Vice President of the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc, with his inspiring keynote titled Futures was not only informative but reminded us that we all have a role to play, with his final words being: “Make trouble.” 

For over more than 30 years, WIPCE has grown to become a major international event in the Indigenous education movement. It was a valuable and exciting opportunity for all involved.