Five Questions with Les Turner

Les Turner was Indigenous X host from September 15 to September 20, 2014.

Five questions to Les

I’m Les Turner, Aranda man from Alice Springs. My mother is from Billengarah in the Gulf of Carpentaria, my mother and her brothers and sisters were all taken from their parents.

My mother was in Kahlin compound in Darwin and trained to be a domestic. My father was the son of Hetti Perkins, a powerful Aranda woman. My grandfather rode his push bike from Brewarrina to Alice Springs with his two brothers in 1908.

My schooling was in Alice Springs, Adelaide and Canberra. I’m the CEO of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).

I want to spread the word about the importance of land rights and the work NSWALC does in NSW. I want to promote the success stories in Aboriginal land rights in NSW and our new website ourmob.org.au and e-news, Our Land Council Our Mob Our Future.
My mother Emma, because of her resilience, strength, values, pride in being Aboriginal.

Charles Perkins, my father’s brother, because of his leadership, vision, sense of humour, compassion, the way he dealt with white people and his loyalty and the connection maintained with his people.

Geoff Eames, who used to be a solicitor with the central Australian Aboriginal legal service, and was later a Judge with the Victorian court of appeal. Because of his pioneering work with the Aboriginal legal service in Alice Springs and his work on the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody.

Yami Lester, a senior Anangu man from South Australia, strong Aboriginal leader, who has amazing knowledge and presence.

Aunty Jessie, my father’s cousin who was like a second mother to our family after my father passed away when I was four years old. White people would queue up at Jessie’s house so she could read their tea leaves. She taught us how to respect and live in two worlds.

I grew up in a world where Aboriginal people spoke their own languages (even against all odds) and English. I am passionate about maintaining Aboriginal language and culture.

I am passionate about Aboriginal people getting an education which is the passport to a good life.

I am passionate about our mob getting the benefits from land rights whether they are economic or cultural.

I want young Aboriginal people to be proud of who they are.

That we can live in a country where Aboriginal people are valued, and fully participate in every aspect of Australian life without losing our identity.

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