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Australian Experts on Aboriginal Culture to Speak at Juniata

(Posted September 15, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Two Australian college professors, both of whom are members of indigenous cultures within Australia, will present a lecture at Juniata College on ?Australian Aboriginal Identity: The Struggle For Place? at 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 22 in Alumni Hall on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is sponsored by Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA) and is the first lecture in the group?s Peace and Justice Lecture Series. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The presentation will start with a talk by Michael McDaniel, associate professor and director of Warawara Department of Indigenous Education at Macquarie University. McDaniel, who is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of New South Wales, will discuss land rights issues in Australia and how indigenous people perceive identity.

Another speaker, Anita Heiss, is a member of the Wiradjuri nation and is one of Australia?s most prolific indigenous authors. Heiss will talk in the second part of the program about Aboriginal identity in Australian history and literature.

?Non-Aboriginal Australians view indigenous identity as competing with their own culture,? McDaniel explains. ?This view impacts the non Aboriginal responses to health, education, land and other issues.?

McDaniel previously worked as director of indigenous programs at the University of Technology, Sydney and held various lectureship positions at Australian Catholic University, Sydney University and the University of Western Sydney. He also serves as a part-time member of the Guardianship Tribunal of New South Wales and is a part-time commissioner of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court.

Heiss is the author of the historical novel ?Who Am I? The Diary of Mary Talence, Sydney 1937? and the poetry collection ?Token Koori.? She also wrote a children?s book, ?Me and My Mum.? In addition, she hosts a popular radio show and often performs her works to a variety of audiences.

The lecture by Heiss and McDaniel is the first in the BCA Peace and Justice Lecture Series. The next speaker, Ferenc Miszilvetz, director of the Institute for Social and European Studies at Daniel Berzsenyi College in Hungary, will be on the Juniata campus from November 9 to Nov. 12.

Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA) is an international exchange organization, headquartered at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pa., which sends students from more than 100 colleges and universities to 17 countries around the world.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.