The 2016 Indigenous Unigames were officially opened in Brisbane last night.
A water blessing, music, dance, song and traditional games kicked off the Unigames at Australian Catholic University (ACU).
The Opening Ceremony featured a Welcome to Country delivered by Turrabul Elder Aunty Maroochy Barambah and a wonderful song and dance performance by local Indigenous artists Excelsior.
ACU First Peoples and Equity Pathways Director Jane Ceolin said the ceremony was a chance for the 418 athletes from 25 universities across Australia to get together and celebrate before participating in sporting and social opportunities over the next four days.
“Together with Australian University Sport, ACU has planned an amazing Unigames experience that will promote respect, fun and healthy activity,” she said.
“The games are a great space for young people to communicate openly and freely with their fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students while having some fun competition and celebrating Indigenous culture.”
The 2016 Indigenous Unigames competitions will be played both at ACU’s Brisbane Campus and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
“We have just completed the finishing touches on the new sporting oval, with a new playing surface, new covered tiered seating and new flood lights. I am really pleased that the Indigenous Unigames will be the first group to use it,” Ms Ceolin said.
“Students will be heading to the Entertainment Centre today to compete in the basketball competition, followed by touch football, netball and volleyball over the next few days.
“I wish all the athletes who will be converging on our university all the very best . . . though I must admit I hope the home ground advantage gives our students that little edge!”
The National Indigenous Tertiary Education Student Games (Indigenous Unigames) began in 1996 as a joint class project between 13 students enrolled in a Diploma of Aboriginal Studies (Community Recreation) at the then Wollotuka School for Aboriginal Studies, The University of Newcastle.
The first Indigenous Unigames were attended by around 30 students and have since grown to an annual event with hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary students from universities all around Australia. The students compete in mixed teams in four sports – touch football, netball, basketball and volleyball – plus a traditional Indigenous game.