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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.

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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.

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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.

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Natalie Walker. Dreaming big and chasing dreams: helping Indigenous mothers finish school

Most people have that one teacher. Like Sidney Poitier’s Mark Thackeray in To Sir, With Love or Robin Williams’s John Keating in Dead Poets Society. The one who inspired, opened our eyes to our own abilities and ultimately helped take us out of our adolescent angst so we saw – for the first time – the much bigger world around us.

Mine was Mr Coburn. He was my English teacher from Mossman State High School in Far North Queensland.

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Andy Saunders. The messages we send our kids, without even saying a thing

While holding her iPod my 10-year old daughter takes a break from her social media platform, she looks up and asks me “Dad, what did you have when you were my age”.

Me: “Baby, I had a pair of shorts, a haircut and a download called mum that uploaded real quick through clenched teeth, usually saying, ‘go outside’, and if I didn’t take note she would become louder with an extra word put in.”

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Bronwyn Carlson. The politics of identity and who gets to decide who is – and isn’t – Indigenous

My name is Bronwyn Carlson and I am an Aboriginal woman who was born on and lives on Dharawal Country on the South Coast of NSW. I am an associate professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Wollongong

I have been talking about the politics of identity on IndigenousX and it has been an amazing experience having such a significant audience to talk with about my research on identity.

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Daniel Lester. Economic prosperity is crucial to improving social outcomes for Aboriginal people

I am Daniel Lester, a proud Wonnarua man and a descendant of the Lester family, born in the Sutherland shire with strong family connections to La Perouse and the south coast of NSW. I’m the first deputy ombudsman (Aboriginal programs) in NSW and Australia.

The broader NSW Ombudsman agency in which I sit is an independent and impartial watchdog, overseeing most public sector and many private sector agencies to make sure they meet their responsibilities to the community. Loosely translated, the word “ombudsman” means “the citizen’s defender” or “representative of the people”. We are independent of the government and accountable to the public through parliament itself. Our mandate is to improve the conduct and decision making of agencies within our jurisdiction.