INDIGENOUS barrister, writer and academic Professor Larissa Behrendt AO will lead a review of the environment at Collingwood between 2005-14, in the wake of premiership player Heritier Lumumba's accounts of racism at the club.
Professor Behrendt and a team of researchers will investigate Lumumba's time at the club, focusing on the experiences that he and other players have recounted.
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Collingwood's integrity committee, which is comprised of club directors Peter Murphy and Jodie Sizer and club CEO Mark Anderson, will review the findings.
Murphy expected the findings would be "a full and frank account" of Lumumba's time at the club, and would help the club form a "road-map" for its future.
"It has become increasingly clear that in Heritier's time we were unable to understand his experience; see and hear what he saw and heard. This lack of cultural safety that he and others have recently spoken of is a matter of great concern," Murphy said.
"We are seeking to understand these experiences of racism and to ensure they have no place in the current Collingwood environment."
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Sizer, a Djab Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman who is the co-founder and co-CEO of PwC's Indigenous Consulting, said: "We want to listen, learn and act. We must look at this as an opportunity to evolve.
"I am certain that Larissa and her team will help us grasp this opportunity and allow Collingwood to further develop as a culturally safe environment in which difference and diversity is celebrated."
Last month, Lumumba posted on social media that he wasn't interested in sitting down with his former teammate and coach Nathan Buckley after he offered to "reach out" to Lumumba, unless the club acknowledged some "fundamental facts".
He continued: "Why a public acknowledgment? Because I have been discredited publicly. I don't want a private handshake. I want justice for how I was treated. That includes correcting public denials about my account of the racism and isolation I faced.
"Collingwood needs to acknowledge the following: They did not have the cultural competence and organisational literacy to deal with a real culture of racism at the club, of which I was a victim for a number of years."
1. Interesting that Collingwood is now shifting its narrative to claim that they are trying to 'reach out' to me. Let me very clear: I have no intention of sitting down with anyone until they publicly acknowledge some fundamental facts.https://t.co/RLPfGD6w6N— Hériter Lumumba (@iamlumumba) June 12, 2020
Professor Behrendt, an Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman, was named the NAIDOC Person of the Year in 2009 and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia earlier this year for her service to the law Indigenous education and the arts.
She is the director of research at the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology, Sydney and chaired the Federal Government's review into Indigenous higher education in 2011.
Professor Behrendt also hosts the Speaking Out program on ABC and has won awards for her documentary films, which focus on telling Indigenous stories.