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Katrina regains heritage and realises dream

Katrina Chippendale heritage
Katrina Chippendale is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science at CQUniversity Bundaberg, a dream inspired by her journey of regaining her heritage.

An unknown heritage, single motherhood and an unfinished high school education may have meant forgotten dreams for some, but a collision course with her long-lost great uncle Eddie Mabo meant a whole new trajectory for Katrina Chippendale.

Currently studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science at CQUniversity’s Bundaberg campus, Katrina also serves as a member of the Student Representative Council as the Indigenous Representative and Deputy Chair, and has sat on various committees throughout her study journey, having enrolled in university as a ‘mature-aged’ student via the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program.

While Katrina is now living a realised dream as she prepares to graduate at the end of this year, as the first in her family to attend university it’s a reality she never thought possible.

“I always knew I wanted to attend university but I thought it was not possible as I did not complete high school and spent 20 years raising my four children alone,” Katrina explained.

Yet it was through a journey of reuniting with her culture and family that brought her dreams to life.

“Growing up I was not educated about my Torres Strait Island heritage and never got to experience the family connections and community values which are ingrained within my culture,” Katrina said.

“When I was young, I only wanted to fit into mainstream Australian society, but this changed when I was ten and my family travelled to the Torres Straits to live on Murray Island and I was fortunate enough to meet a great uncle of mine, Eddie Mabo.

“As a teenager I became interested in the Mabo court case and read the whole hand-typed court proceedings, and I had dreams and aspirations of becoming a lawyer.”

This unison of culture and ignited dreaming fuelled Katrina to live a life determined to hold fast to her beliefs, to share her identity and to never let go of her desire.

“For me ‘keep the fire burning’ resonates strongly with my life journey as I had to maintain my beliefs, as well as my passion for attending university, knowing that one day I would accomplish my dream,” she said.

“As a Torres Strait Islander I feel the need to pass my knowledge and experiences on to my children and grandchildren so they can learn to embrace their culture and be proud – as a community we should stand tall and proud as we celebrate the achievements and contributions our culture and people make toward our beautiful country.

“I want future generations to take the time to listen to their elders and learn to respect their culture and recognise the true value and beauty of a culture which is the oldest living on earth.

“Be proud of who you are and where you come from, stand tall and look up to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who make a difference in our community by keeping our culture alive.

“May our future generations empower themselves through education and keep creating a better future for everyone and keep the fire burning.”

CQUniversity is proud to celebrate NAIDOC Week activities right across the campus footprint, championing the national theme ‘Keep the fire burning!: Blak, Loud and Proud’.

View more information for your local area via the NAIDOC website.


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