Where will this take me?
Indigenous Studies prepares students for large range of careers as Indigenous participation and issues become increasingly embedded in all aspects of industry, small business, government, health, law, the arts, media, and education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Indigenous studies will give Indigenous and non-Indigenous students an edge.
Claire Heland is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Indigenous Studies.
Since school I have lived in Fiji, Mexico and various places in Australia. After working for a few years as a massage therapist I felt that I wanted to challenge myself in a different way. I have many areas of interest so a BA seemed like a good way to explore multiple areas.
All of the Indigenous studies subjects have been really wonderful at critically reflecting on the situation of undertaking Indigenous studies in a colonial institution and generally breaking down many academic norms by having a lot of non-academic guest lecturers and strong critical discussions about the local and wider communities that we exist in.
Where I used to have a gut feeling about something, now I have a more developed understanding and an intellectual vocabulary to explain, argue and support those feelings. For example, when people express that being ‘colour blind’ (as in not seeing race) is a good thing, I used to feel uncomfortable and feel that it was problematic but I didn’t know why. Now through my studies I feel a lot more comfortable being able to explain my views and understand them a bit more in-depth.
Something interesting I have discovered in my course is that many of the Indigenous languages in Australia are being revived or ‘woken up’. There is so much strength, resilience and positivity in Indigenous Australia including how many of the languages that are often said to have ‘died’ or been ‘lost’ are being revived and spoken again in places that they have not been spoken in a long time, some for over 100 years.
I volunteered at a health retreat in northeast Arnhem Land in 2016. It was the first Indigenous-initiated health retreat in Australia and was a wonderful experience.