Five Questions with Jeremy Donovan

In 2014, Twitter Hosts by IndigenousX

Jeremy Donovan was Indigenous X host from August 15 to August 22, 2014.

Five questions to Jeremy

I am a proud Western Yalanji (Nyungkal) from far-north Queensland and Gumbayngirr from mid-north coast New South Wales. I am married to a beautiful Bundjalung/Dhunghutti woman. I have four beautiful children; Jalu 12, Matari, who is nine, Kaleema who is seven, and Jakarri, who is two. My family will always will be one of the greatest inspirations and drivers to my life.

I feel that to date, I have lived a fortunate life. My career started of as a dancer and didgeridoo (Yidaki/Yigi-Yigi) player in both traditional and contemporary dance troupes in Queensland and then in New South Wales. In 2000, at age 20, I was given the opportunity and responsibility to be the principle performer at the Northern Territory Outback Centre in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Between 2000 and 2010, music and art were my life. I have performed with some the most incredible musicians and displayed artworks here in Australia and around the world.

I launched a consultancy business in 2004 allowing me – when not travelling overseas – to work in communities around Australia. I love working with young people to realise their dreams and encourage them not to make the same mistakes I did.

I felt completely disassociated with the world as a youth. Lack of cultural identity and anger meant that seeing the walls of courtrooms and juvenile correction centres was sometimes easier than seeing the open sky. I would never wish for anyone to have seen what I saw as a teenager, and go through this sense of disconnection from self, culture and identity.

In 2010 I began a career as a keynote speaker, discussing topics such as overcoming adversity, healing, leadership and adapting to change. In 2011, I was awarded Australian keynote speaker of year. In April 2013 I was appointed as the national ambassador for GenerationOne, and was later that year appointed to lead the organisation.

The organisation is an initiative that advocates for led training, using vocational training employment centres (VTECs), a holistic and comprehensive service designed to support our most marginalised, long term unemployed jobseekers enter into the workforce.

I have always been driven by my dreams. I have my regrets though; including a total disregard for school and education as a younger man. One day I hope to attend university and formalise my education it is one of my long term aspirations.

During the week, I will share my life and work, and give you details about the strategies behind GenerationOne. I will also be on leave, heading down to rural Victoria to work with some young people in Shepparton and Mildura, teaching them the importance of aspirations.

I want to discuss culture, art, music, employment and the challenges we face as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples and how we come together as individuals but united by the desire to achieve “IndigenousXcellence”.

My mother and father, my step parents and my adopted parents. These above people all brought and continue to bring love and learning into my life. My wife, who challenged me to stand up and make the changes in my life.

Catherine Freeman, Patrick Johnson and Kyle Vander–Kuyp. I will never forget watching these champions run, Kyle inspired me, no matter the hurdle in front of you. Turn up and face it.

My old grandfather, who played a significant role in shaping my life. His absolute commitment to me in allowing me to submerge into culture, wisdom, spirituality and knowledge. He was the most selfless person, who – despite injustices, pain and trauma – always had forgiveness.

Culture, finding the balance between the two worlds. Identity and the struggles young people can face around who they are.

Indigenous incarceration rates, including the over representation of our mob in the prison systems.

Mental health and the tragedy of suicide in our communities, as well as the debilitating outcomes of dealing with death so frequently.

Healing, and how we provide a safe place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to do so.

Employment, and ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people are given the opportunity to move from poverty to empowerment using the tools of education and employment while maintaining a connection to culture and community.

At the moment I have one significant dream, which is central to everything that I do.

My dream is that one day I will be blessed to be a grandfather – and when my grandchildren sit down with me, I will tell them of the great shame and injustices that have occurred in our country. I will tell them of the disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians. And they will look at me in complete disbelief because in their life, it won’t exist. This is central to everything I do.

Share this

Liked it? Take a second to support IndigenousX on Patreon!