“The sorry business of doing things to us”

Published 28 November 2016
Sean Gordon

Sean Gordon

Living in Australia, we are used to certain rights and privileges. But have you stopped to think how it would feel if such freedom was subject to the whim of an administrator?

The sorry business of doing things to us” is the subject of this year’s University of New England’s Frank Archibald Memorial lecture, which is presented by Sean Gordon, CEO of Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council.

In his talk Sean explores the empowerment of Aboriginal people through economic development and the importance of people having power over their lives and destinies.

He references Frank Archibald’s history and contemplates what it meant for Aboriginal people to know that no matter what freedoms they eked out for themselves through hard work and decent family values, they could still be removed at the stroke of a pen and incarceration would be the replacement.

“It will only be through an empowerment and development agenda, and having greater control over our own lives, that conditions will improve for Aboriginal people culturally, socially, spiritually and economically,” Sean said.

Born a Wangkumarra/Barkintji man, Sean grew up at Brewarrina in Western NSW. He has formal qualifications in Carpentry and Joinery, Clerk of Works, as well as a Bachelor Degree in Teaching, and an Advanced Diploma in Community Services.

He was appointed CEO at Darkinjung LALC in 2008 and is a strong advocate of self-determination within the Local Aboriginal Land Council movement. Sean is highly regarded across all sectors of community, government and industry.

Director of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, Mr Gregory Davison, said that the Frank Archibald Lecture is a unique event in the annual calendar of UNE as it has, and continues to promote, the voices and perspectives of Indigenous Australia on many topics.

“This year we are pleased to welcome Sean Gordon as he will be sharing with us his insights into another model of Indigenous engagement based on empowerment and development,” Mr Davison said.

“I invite you all to attend to learn more about this very important work that aims to close the gap on the social and economic disadvantage of the Indigenous Australians in the regions where this work is happening. The lessons and benefits could be enormous.”

The annual Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture is held in honour of Mr Frank Archibald, a revered Aboriginal community member of the Armidale area. He was renowned for his knowledge and interest in all issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly education.

Established in 1986, the lecture is presented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers who are leading professionals in their fields. This year is the 30th anniversary of the lecture series, making it one of the longest-running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lecture series in the country.

This year’s lecture will be held at the Armidale Bowling Club on Thursday 1 December and starts at 6.30pm with supper to follow.

For more information phone 6773 3217 or go to: www.une.edu.au/events.