QUT has appointed a new First Nations Elder-In-Residence, ahead of the beginning of the 2020 semester.
Gregory Egert, also known as Uncle Cheg, is an Aboriginal man of Yugara and Goenpul country. He expressed that his new role will provide a vital link and fount of knowledge for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian staff and students. He also has hopes that this will further engage community Elders in the QUT community.
“My grandfather always said as you grow up you will be on a journey and it’s your journey to tell. I look forward to telling my interpretation of these stories to the QUT community,” Uncle Cheg says.
According to a statement from QUT, “The Elders-in-Residence program is a key initiative of the university’s Indigenous Employment Strategy which is a commitment to creating a culturally safe and inclusive working environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
This appointment indicates the continuation of foundational change within the university to prioritise inclusion and reconciliation for First Nations staff and students.
QUT Guild First Nations Support Officer, Joseph Ingram, welcomes the appointment.
“From the position of a First Nation Community member, I am very excited for QUT to welcome the New Elder-in-Residence Uncle Cheg. My Elders taught me that an Elder’s Teaching & Knowledge carries the weight of our ancestors. I just hope that QUT as an institution can understand the weight of an Elder’s teachings, stories, opinions and how they should be incorporated throughout the entirety of the university’s future, not just the future of the First Nations community,” Ingram said.
Both Uncle Cheg and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy), Angela Barney-Leitch, say that this is a significant step in the right direction for QUT and understanding the important role Indigenous Australians play in the academic and Brisbane communities.