Karen Jackson or KJ is Yorta Yorta – and so very proud of her Ancestors and Elders. For more than 20 years Karen have been involved in building relationships and communities with Aboriginal community members and service providers in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Karen lead and co-chaired organisations and programs that create a culturally safe, fair and opportunity-based environment for community that is embedded in relationships to land, culture, law and Elders. Karen had a chat with Gman on
As Executive Director, Moondani Balluk Indigenous Academic Unit at Victoria University, I help develop the University Strategic Plan and the Bathelmun Yalingwa plan to grow the numbers of Aboriginal community engaging and partnering with us, sharing knowledge through teaching, learning and research and connecting the physical environment to Aboriginal spaces and to Melbourne’s West to help epistemic justice. Moondani Balluk is a culturally safe and supportive place for Aboriginal students and staff at Victoria University. Moondani Balluk means ‘embrace people’ in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people.
I oversee a team that includes Aboriginal academic staff to deliver the Aboriginal Education Kyinandoo (AEK) units in Diploma, undergraduate and Master programs. My role also includes supporting and caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across the university, engaging with Aboriginal community and service providers in Melbourne’s west including Wyndham, Melton and Footscray to improve services. I also work on designing and undertaking collaborative research projects.
I am a member of the Western Metropolitan Partnership, part of the Metropolitan Partnerships, a significant State Government initiative aimed at listening to the voices of the west, in order to inform policy and outcomes deliver specific services that can assist communities. I am also co-chair of Koling wada-ngal Aboriginal Corporation located within the Wunggurrwil Dhurrung Centre, in Wyndham.
I believe all Australians benefit if we respect and recognise Aboriginal People as Sovereign Peoples, understand terra nullius is a lie and we begin serious work towards a treaty and truth telling. Moondani Bulluk provides a wide range of information, services and support for Aboriginal students and staff. We offer: • courses and units with an Aboriginal focus • student assistance and support • scholarships and Moondani Balluk student grants • cultural activities for staff and students • academic, personal and cultural support • networking and professional development opportunities. We also support Aboriginal research and researchers. The work of Moondani Balluk is informed and guided by the University-wide Aboriginal strategy, Bathlemun Yalingwa.