Meet an Aboriginal Cultural Coordinator

When it comes to creating opportunities for young Aboriginal people, Yamatji woman Cheryl Lennox Bradley is a tireless crusader.

Cultural Coordinator and Aboriginal Liaison Officer at Mater dei College in Edgewater, Cheryl is also a member of the Catholic Education Aboriginal Committee (CEAC), as well as the chairperson of the state Aboriginal Teaching Assistant Network. Part counsellor, part teacher, part family support worker is how Cheryl describes her work at Mater Dei.

‘I could be sewing a button on someone’s uniform one moment, talking about health issues the next, arranging a NAIDOC event in the morning and heading out to visit a family in the afternoon. You’re not just working with the Aboriginal kids at the school, you’re working with the whole community.’ While she loves her work in the school context, Cheryl also relishes the opportunity to be part of the bigger picture of Catholic Aboriginal education through her work on the CEAC. 

‘It’s a role where you’re at the cutting edge of policy. You can have an input and you’re kept in the loop in a close way about what’s going on in the local and national contexts,’ says Cheryl.

Mentoring Catholic Education’s growing crop of Aboriginal Teaching Assistants is another aspect of Cheryl’s work that gets her excited. Sharing

ideas and resources, making new friends and receiving advice and support are key benefits of the network that Cheryl chairs. 

‘Our new Aboriginal Teaching Assistants are expected to hit the ground running in a school and often they’re way out of their own cultural realm,’ 

says Cheryl. ‘They absolutely love the support and friendship they get through the network.’

While there is always more work to be done, Cheryl is proud of the achievements of Catholic Aboriginal education: ‘We’re really leading the way 

here in WA. We have great networks, commitment from the top down, good communication and real parental involvement.