Indigenous postgraduate students spark celebration 

L-R: Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, Dr Sue Stanton, Ms Robyn Ober and Dr Linda Ford

The first Indigenous person to be awarded a PhD of Arts (research based) from Charles Darwin University, Associate Professor Sue Stanton, presented a seminar on campus last week in which she spoke about her thesis and experiences as an Aboriginal woman working to gain her doctorate.

The seminar, attended by a packed audience of about 60 academics, family and friends, was hosted by the Indigenous Academic Support Unit (IASU) before Dr Stanton’s graduation on Friday night at the Darwin Entertainment Centre.

IASU lecturer Ms Cynthia Coyne said: “Sue’s presentation was inspirational, informing us about the struggles and hardships she encountered as an Aboriginal woman on her journey to gain a doctorate.”

Dr Stanton’s 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’, examined some of the factors and processes involved in the colonisation of the north.

After the seminar the Dean, Indigenous Research and Education, Professor MaryAnn Bin-Sallik, presented gifts of Indigenous prints on behalf of the IASU to celebrate the academic achievements of Dr Stanton as well as Ms Robyn Ober.

Ms Ober is another Aboriginal woman who made history for CDU on Friday by being the first Aboriginal woman to receive a Masters of Applied Linguistics from the University. Professor Bin-Sallik said that Robyn Ober needed to be commended for her work and studies in applied linguistics. “Her work is so important to the survival of our languages which are all too quickly disappearing.”

“The graduation ceremony on Friday night was the pinnacle of Indigenous celebration in the Territory with both Robyn and Sue walking proudly across the stage while making history for CDU,” Ms Coyne said.