Ting indigenous cu

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still lie in the path of Indigenous peoples, say in achieving formal constitutional equality, let alone substantive equality. In her feedback one student described her ‘Aaah moment’, after which she found it easier to be either critical or sympathetic on Indigenous issues as necessary. The ultimate aim of the unit therefore, to cite this student, is to enable each student to reach their own ‘Aaah’ moment in this area. However, to expect an institution, or even one generation to do all that, it is necessary (to use the words of Olney J in another context) to ‘wash away’86 the historical tide of oppression — something that is probably quite unrealistic.

Yet there is reason for optimism, as students taking the unit are largely self-selecting, self-motivated, self-directed and eager to make a difference. In most cases, they are naïve enough to believe that they can individually make a difference, and probably clever and motivated enough to actually change their world through their legal careers. Therefore, harnessing this goodwill, youthful exuberance and desire for justice, and giving them the confidence and skills to engage with our open political system, is not an unrealistic aim. A greater level of confidence to deal positively and affirmatively with Indigenous peoples will further enhance their abilities and skills, already developed to high degree by an excellent law program. Not only arming students with knowledge and skills, but also fostering empathy and inspiring the desire and passion for change, is an important role that all universities can and must play in healing the lingering symptoms of the historic sore of Indigenous dispossession and discrimination.

85 Jon Altman and Susie Russell, Too much ‘Dreaming’: Evaluations of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response Intervention 2007–2012’, (2012) 3 Evidence Base .

86 Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria & Ors [1998] FCA

1606 (18 December 1998), [129], (Olney J).

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