Indigenous postgraduates to make history at graduation ceremony 


Associate Professor Sue Stanton, a Kungarakan-Gurindji woman, will make history on Friday night (12 October) when she becomes the first Aboriginal person to receive a Doctor of Philosophy in Arts (thesis based) from Charles Darwin University (CDU).

She will receive her award at the graduation ceremony which will be held at the Darwin Entertainment Centre starting at 6.30pm.

Her thesis entitled ‘Coloureds and Catholics: A colonial subject's narrative of the factors and processes that led to the colonisation and conversion of Coloureds at Garden Point Mission, 1941-1967’, examines some of the factors and processes involved in the colonisation of the north.

Dr Stanton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (History) from the former Northern Territory University (now CDU) in 1995. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to complete a Masters degree (American Indian Studies: Law and Policy – International Indigenous Human Rights Law) from the University of Arizona in 1997.

On her return to Australia, Dr Stanton worked in various academic and administrative positions at CDU and the University of Wollongong, where she is currently an Associate Professor in the School of History and Politics, Faculty of Arts.

Dr Stanton said that Coloureds and Catholics was a colonised subject’s historical narrative establishing some of the truths about the forces of colonialism.

“It offers the opportunity for Indigenous historians’ voices to address those western voices that ignore the truth and reality of colonisation,” she said.

“The aim of the work is to offer alternative narratives which might encourage different views into mainstream history and Aboriginal studies curricula. Revised curricula could tell the real history of conquest and oppression so that Australian students may arrive at other ideas and conclusions.”

Dr Stanton said that the research method involved a mixture of personal interviews as well as a substantive literature review of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous reactions and responses to a wide range of Aboriginal and Indigenous historical and other data.

A second post-graduate student also will create history at the ceremony tomorrow night.

Robyn Ober, a Djirribal woman from North Queensland, will receive a Master of Applied Linguistics at the graduation ceremony. She will be the first Indigenous woman to receive this award from CDU.