Luke Pearson. Sorry, Sorry Day…

These are various questions I have been asked about the whole idea of ‘Sorry” over the years. Some of the answers are what I have said, others what I should have said, and some others I probably shouldn’t have said, but I did; so, you know… sorry about that.

Q. “Why should I be sorry for what my ancestors did?”

‘Gone walkabout’? Really, Andrew?

Andrew Bolt felt it a question worth asking though, concerned as always, about unfair stereotypes promoting racism against Aboriginal people. We know this was his motivation because he said so. He stated that the stereotype of Aboriginal people not ‘sticking’ at jobs is ‘ancient’ and untrue, but his concern was that Nova Peris was encouraging this ancient stereotype that literally no one but him had mentioned. So while it’s lovely of him to be concerned for us, thanks but no thanks, Andrew.

For Andrew to suggest that his motivation in attacking Nova Peris was his concern that employers would now turn around and refuse to hire Aboriginal people in their shops out of fear that they ‘might go walkabout, you know, like that senator did that time’ flies in the face of his much more commonly evoked concerns about the ‘new racism’, the racism that benefits Aboriginal people at the expense of good white people who lose out because of all the awesome stuff we get for free. That argument also flies in the face of his other commonly evoked arguments that everyone in Australia is treated equally and racism doesn’t now, and has never, really existed in Australia anyway… it’s best not to think about it too much, because clearly Andrew doesn’t. It seems more likely that he just says whatever nonsense suits his purpose on any given day.

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Jade Jones-Cubillo. I didn’t understand how special it was to be Aboriginal until I was 17

Here I am at 20 years old sitting in the backyard on a chair I’ve sat on many times before and contemplated many things throughout my life and find that I have continuously asked myself: “What does it mean to be Aboriginal?”

I’ve grown up in a western setting, right in the heart of Darwin. When I explain my mob I say it’s like saltwater meeting freshwater, I walk in the best of two tribes.

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Katie West. My art is a personal antidote for the effects of colonisation

As I write, my first ever solo exhibition, Decolonist, is underway as part of Australia’s leading festival for emerging contemporary art – Next Wave Festival 2016. This project has been the major focus of my life for the past 18 months and I was lucky enough to also take part in Next Wave’s kickstart program, which offers professional development to emerging artists.

Kickstart challenged us to think about where our practice is situated in the society we operate in. We considered our role as artists in the face of major social and environmental issues, ranging from racism and white privilege to climate change.

Luke Pearson: Blackface and Whitewashing

I sat on this one for a while, not sure whether I could bring myself to write about it one more time, or if there was even anything left to say.

It’s racist.

Kelly Briggs. I Survive

Trigger Warning: This article contains personal stories of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

My story of ongoing survivorship of mental health issues is not unique. There is no triumphant victory at the end of this article. My personal history which I have chosen to share has no miraculous breakthroughs, no Hollywood ending of a woman having a road to Damascus moment, there is no phoenix rising from the ashes in this intimate account.

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Lynore Geia and Summer May Finlay. #IHMayDay16 – a cry for help on Indigenous mental health

We are co-hosting @IndigenousX this week to highlight how much is going on around suicide prevention, families and communities in Indigenous Australia. On 5-6 May, the Inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Conference took place in Alice Springs, and 12 May is #IHMayDay16 – a day devoted to discussing Indigenous health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and knowledge are fundamental to our wellbeing. It is important for individuals to be happy and healthy for their families and communities to be healthy as well. The strength and dynamic of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture is a big part of what makes a healthy community.

Karla McGrady with Helen Duroux. It’s time for justice for Bowraville

I was just 11 years old when the cousin that I loved and adored spent what would be his last night in Tenterfield at our home, laughing and telling jokes and stories, just being everything you could ever want to be when you got older.

I was 11 years old when I walked up that road behind Evelyn’s family and her father, who carried her tiny little white coffin in his arms to her final resting place.

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Kelrick Martin. Voiceless no longer – striving for Indigenous success through film

My name is Kelrick Martin, and my family are from the north west of Western Australia, but we call Broome our home. My mother is the second eldest sibling in a family of nine children, and I am the eldest grandchild. Mum’s parents – my grandparents – knew the value of education from a very early age, and worked incredibly hard to provide for their children. When my grandfather, the patriarch of our family, passed away when I was 15-years-old, it was a huge blow to us all.

Starting out as a radio trainee at Goolarri Media in Broome, an Indigenous owned and operated media organisation in Western Australia in 1997, I was incredibly shy. It took me six weeks before I went anywhere near the studio. Part of my job however was to document Indigenous voices and broadcast them to our local audience, effectively preserving these stories for future generations. I had to get over being shame pretty quickly. Having already lost the stories of my grandfather, I realised how vital it was to retain the stories of our elders and culture before they too were lost forever. I also learned that media technologies like radio, film and television were the key to promoting this. It was a calling for me, and one I was keen to pursue as far as I could.

Luke Pearson. Treaty vs Recognition – the importance of self determination

The Treaty vs Recognition debate is an interesting one, although it probably still hasn’t received the attention and scrutiny that it deserves.

The push for Treaty is older than any of us, but it has risen to prominence again largely from the frustration felt by many with how the Recognise campaign has been rolled out. People feel that it is a top down campaign blindly promoting a ‘Yes’ vote in a referendum that still doesn’t have a question for us to say yes or no to. In this sense, it comes across like government asking us to sign our names to a blank piece of paper that they will fill in later. Such a request is entirely reliant on a goodwill between government and Indigenous peoples that doesn’t really exist.