The Redfern statement, compiled by a collective of at least 55 Indigenous and Non-Indigenous organisations and peak-bodies has issued a bold challenge to whichever party is elected as Australia’s government come 2 July 2016, “It is time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are heard and respected, it is time for action”.
Dear Cr Brandenburg
I do hope that this letter finds you well.
I’m an Indigenous rapper signed to Bad Apples Music and last week was a pretty huge week for me.
I took over the @IndigenousX Twitter feed for Reconciliation Week and received the Dreaming Award from the Australia Council at the ninth National Indigenous Arts Awards in front of some of the country’s finest Indigenous artists, my family and my partner at the Sydney Opera House.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.