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Kadadjiny – Thinking, Listening, Learning

Kadadjiny is a Nyoongar word that can be interpreted as “thinking, listening, learning” and is one of a number of Nyoongar words that reflect the importance of learning to the Nyoongar people and culture. Other words include katta djinoong (see us, understand us), kadjaniny (hearing, understanding, knowing), and kaartdijin (knowledge).

This page of resources has been created to assist staff with building their cultural competence.

50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum

On 27th May 1967 90.77% of Australians voted to change the Australian Constitution to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census and to give the federal government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, thus eliminating inequalities across states. Before 1967, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples did not have the same rights as all Australians - many basic rights where controlled by state governments.  For example:

  • Voting in state elections
  • Marrying whomever they chose
  • Moving wherever they chose
  • Owning property wherever they chose
  • Being legal guardians of their own children
  • Receiving the same pay for the same work
  • Drinking alcohol.

What the 1967 referendum did

It removed Section 127, which said that Aboriginal natives shall not be counted in "reckoning the numbers" of people in the Commonwealth, that is, in the population Census.

It also amended Section 51, which prohibited the federal government from specifically making laws for the Indigenous people of any state. Until this referendum Indigenous peoples weren’t entitled to some of the same benefits afforded to all other Australian people. These included:

  • War pensions
  • Child endowments
  • Social security benefits

Learn more about this historic milestone in our history

Stay informed through the Connecting the Dots network

Connecting the Dots is ECU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Information Network; an initiative to keep staff who are committed to Aboriginal cultural respect connected and informed about news, events and resources related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture at ECU. Network members receive an email newsletter 3-4 times per year and are kept up-to-date on special events at other times of the year.

To join the network,  send an email to clt@ecu.edu.au and ask to be added to the mailing list.

Learn about Aboriginal Peoples, cultures and history

While the quantity of cultural resources available online is exhaustive, here are a few interesting starting points:

Acknowledgement of country

At the commencement of every semester all teaching staff are encouraged to do an acknowledgement at the beginning of the first lecture, tutorial, seminar or laboratory. Doing so communicates cultural safety and respect to Aboriginal students, and demonstrates ECU’s commitment to reconciliation.

If you would like to know more about doing an acknowledgement of country, please contact clt@ecu.edu.au.

For examples of suitable wording, see ECU’s policy on Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Country.

Appropriate Terminology


Edith Cowan University uses the preferred term “Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander” to replace “Indigenous Australian.” Here are some general guidelines for preferred terminology at ECU:

  • The acronym ATSI will not be used as an abbreviation for “Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander”;
  • Where appropriate, “Aboriginal” or “Torres Strait Islander” will be used rather than the full title; and
  • In situations where external reporting requires the use of the term “Indigenous Australian,” a note should be included in the document stating “While [name of body] requires the term “Indigenous Australian” to be used in this document, Edith Cowan University prefers to use the term “Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island.

For appropriate language in contexts beyond the university, Flinders University has produced a very useful guide for naming and representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, cultures, societies and histories.

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