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This is my truth.

I was born on Larrakia land (Darwin) where I spent my younger years surrounded by my countless cousins, aunties, uncles and my Nanny and Poppa. My culture was everywhere, in how we joked, what we thought and what we sang.

My first experience of being different came from my blonde hair, green eyed and white skinned sister who was sure I needed to get back into the bath because my knees were ‘still dirty’. I remember crying my eyes out and not being able to calm down. She was little and had obviously started recognising that most of the people at her school looked like her, not like me. Mind you, for a long time in our family she was the odd one out with her extremely fair skin that was unable to catch a tan and I assume she was trying to reflect her experiences onto me. Even all of our blonde cousins, aunties and uncles had tanned skin, not Hails, she would battle it alone until Keeley came along.

When we moved to Melbourne, I very quickly became the minority though. Our Melbourne family (dad’s side) were all non-indigenous. At school I was the only one who spoke like I did (apart from Hails), I remember making the conscious decision to stop saying ‘deadly’ or ‘sis’ at school because no one knew what I was talking about.

It wasn’t until I was about 9 that I really felt ostracised for being aboriginal. We were learning about Australian history and the Stolen Generation and when it was spoken about, I was pointed out. ‘Kayla’s family couldn’t look after their kids’ ‘Kayla is going to get taken’ I withdrew into myself and I remember I felt so ashamed. I grew burning hot and sick when my teacher asked me to debate how the stolen generation was a good thing for aboriginal people. I remember standing there not saying a word. Everyone was staring at me and I couldn’t help but think back to my nana, how she was taken from her family and all the pain and anguish that my family continue to feel because of this. The stolen generation was a good thing? It had never even crossed my mind that people would think this, but this was coming from my teacher. Someone I was told to respect; someone I was taught knew better than me. I don’t think I talked for the rest of the day. I didn’t even tell my parents what she had asked of me. I was confused and ashamed. I think that was the time that I became an expert compartmentaliser.

Compartmentalisation: A defense mechanism where someone suppresses their thoughts and emotions. It is not always done consciously but this can often justify or defend a person’s level of engagement in certain behaviors.

I became one person to white people, and I was another to my family. Only now am I trying to reconcile these two people.

I had managed quite skilfully to ignore the provokes I would hear about being aboriginal – if I was quiet, they couldn’t see me right?  When I got to high school, I developed sever anxiety, although, I didn’t know that was what it was at the time. I was having panic attacks EVERY. SINGLE. DAY before school and I honestly felt as though I was dying, I went to the doctors so many times and I was never diagnosed, so I continued to feel as though I was suffocating. I missed A LOT of school because of it.

What had triggered my anxiety in high school was a particularly vulgar class. The lessons would begin with a quick explanation of what we were concentrating on that day and then for the rest of the lesson the teacher and a student would exchange aboriginal jokes. I sat in humiliating silence class after class while they exchanged their ‘jokes’. When they laughed, they were laughing at me and my family. I went from a student who cared a lot about their grades, to a student who would hand things in late and with very little effort. My friends sat in silence while my torment went on and I remember feeling so far removed from everyone, not that I blame them, it’s such an awkward age. I tried distracting myself with chatter with my friend’s, but I couldn’t block it out. I remember finally getting up the guts to say ‘I’m aboriginal and I don’t like this’ my teacher gave me a dumb smile and didn’t say anything. The student said ‘oh, but can I just tell one more joke’. I was silenced again but to my relief, no one laughed at the joke that time. The teacher didn’t say anything to me. I was in and out of school the rest of  that year and when I did show up, I would be severely anxious and couldn’t concentrate in class. I was there only for my friends and to not disappoint my parents who worked hard to put me through school.

Sometimes I get the opportunity to feel safe with someone who isn’t Indigenous, and I share parts of my story with them. I am good at that; all minorities are good at predictive analysis. We know what signs to look for to show us when we are safe and when we aren’t. We look for people who will listen with the intention of learning. When we share and are ignored, we won’t share with you again.

When you haven’t walked in our footsteps and you decide what’s best for us, you design something ‘for us’ without us leading it, we won’t work with you again.

I ended up feeling safer in my protective skin because of these years. I studied in this skin, I made friends in this skin and I began my career in this skin. It never felt right though. Sometimes I would share a post on my facebook page that was about the injustice to Indigenous people and I would get little to no support. No ‘likes’, apart from my family and a select few. I felt alone and enraged, disappointed and sadden and then, I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore and I began the journey of ‘consolidating’ my two selves.

So now I am trying to figure out what this looks like, it feels lonely and scary, but it also feels like healing and recovering.  

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POV: Light-skinned Blakfulla

My name is Nova Garnier. I am a proud Indigenous Australian with blood ties into the Torres Strait Islands and Palm Island. I grew up on Noongar Boodjar (country) in Western Australia, and am currently living on Larrakia land in Darwin, Northern Territory.

I acknowledge the Larrakia people, whose land I currently reside. I thank them for allowing me to live on such beautiful country and I acknowledge their deep connection to both the land and sea. I pay my respects to Elders both past, present, and emerging.

Today’s blog is about a subject I hold very close to my heart and is a big part of the fabric of my being. I hope this blog brings some education and understanding around what it’s like to be a light-skinned blakfulla in 2020 and empowers others who may be feeling a little lost, and show them that they are not alone on their spiritual journeys.

“You’re too white to be Indigenous”

“Yeah but you’re not like the others ones. You’re one of the good ones”

“What percentage are you?”

My whole life I have heard these remarks. When others questioned my identity, it made me question my own identity. Growing up on the other side of the country, where my family was not from, I felt lost and like I didn’t belong.

It’s only in recent years, after reaching out to family and meeting other mob’s from all over, that I finally felt connected. It was at my first Indigenous Uni Games in 2016 in Brisbane (now known as Indigenous Nationals), that I credit to my full ‘spiritual awakening’. It was the energy in the room that awoke something in me. The energy in the songs, the energy in the dances, the energy that was sending vibrations throughout my entire body because of this collective group. Everyone just accepted each other for who they were. There was no questioning of identities, there were no ignorant remarks. Everyone just saw each other as their brothers and sisters. It helped me heal and I finally started accepting myself.

I’m still on my spiritual journey, and I still have days where I sometimes feel like I’m an impostor in my own skin. I’ve learned when this happens, to just breathe, lay down on the Earth, and have faith that the old people are guiding me and that I’m doing the right thing for myself and my people.

My roots now run deeper than these ignorant remarks.

My blood memory is strong and my connection with my ancestors is undeniably fierce. I draw upon their strength and their experiences to find my own power.

The education system let me down, and it let you down too. I’ve spent the last few years educating myself and decolonising my thinking. At first, it was my safeguard to have the ability and confidence to defend myself when my identity was being questioned by others. It has now grown into a necessity to walk in both worlds, to progress forward as a united Australia.

WE have the opportunity to move forward together, hand in hand, as one collective nation. A nation built on mutual trust and respect. A nation that recognises past wrongdoings, and commits to a better future. A nation that acknowledges and celebrates Indigenous cultures at its core. A nation in which all are welcomed and all are valued.

One of the projects I am actively involved in with Indigenous Business Australia is the Futures Forum project. At the start of this, we were asked to present our 50-year vision for Indigenous Australia, mine is as follows:

Aboriginality will not be defined by skin colour, geographical location, or social demographic, but in the DNA of the collective will be the DNA of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. In essence, the strong sense of self, belongingness, and connection that comes with that will flow through the veins of the generations 50 years from now. We won’t have to have NAIDOC and Reconciliation week because it will be a way of life. Every organisation will be embedded with this real and vibrant force and not just tokenistic.

Check out more from Nova below:

Nova xo

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Peaceful Protests

The murder of George Floyd on 25th May 2020 has rightfully enraged people from all across the world, bringing to the forefront the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Here in Australia how much do we really know about Indigenous deaths in custody. In 1996 there was a royal commission into the number of deaths of black deaths in custody studying between 1990-1995.

  • Indigenous people were 16.5 times more likely than non-indigenous people to die in custody. Keeping in mind that Indigenous people currently make up approximately 3% of the population, this is disproportionately high.  
  • The disproportion in the rate of death was the highest in South Australia (31.7) followed by Victoria (18.8), New South Wales (17.0), Queensland (16.8), Northern Territory (7.7) and Tasmania (2.8).
  • Indigenous prisoners were 1.26 times more likely to die in prison than non-non-indigenous prisoners.
  • Indigenous people who died in custody are significantly younger than non-Indigenous people.
  • The rate of death for Indigenous women in custody was higher than the corresponding rate for Indigenous men.

The full report can be found here.

Here is a list of current peaceful protests within Australia






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    Manya Kartla Cold Fire, Cool Burning

    Our Songlines is passionate about promoting Indigenous Culture, in these times where Australia is on fire, we need to look to our First Nations people to lead the path to old country. We had a yarn with Dr Jared Thomas and this is what he had to say.

    White Simple Vertical Your Story (2)

    Image: Lindsay Thomas dealing with fuel load, Southern Flinders Ranges, winter, 2016. Taken by Dr Jared Thomas. 

    Dr Jared Thomas, Margaret and William Geary Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art and Material Culture, South Australian Museum

    With unprecedented bushfires ravaging Australia during the summer of 2019-2020 many are asking what could have occurred to prevent the ferocity of the fires, and people are turning their attention to Aboriginal knowledge regarding bushfire mitigation.

    With the encouragement of ecologist Faith Coleman, my dad Darryl and my Uncles Lawrie and Lindsay started reintroducing cool burning, a land management practice similar to those implemented by Aboriginal people across the continent. Before trialling cool burns I’d heard about how my people, the Nukunu of the Southern Flinders Ranges, and many other Aboriginal groups managed country with fire. I’d been told that fire, heat and smoke facilitates the germination of particular seeds and can regenerate tracts of land.

    Through conducting several cool burns and reflecting on the recent fires, I am now coming to a better understanding of the many of ways that fire assists land management, including lessening bushfires.

    In the lead up to the burns there’s deep observation of the tract of land intended to be managed, including the fuel load in the area, it’s density and type, height, the rain fall leading up to the burn, ensuring particular plants are plump with moisture, and the types of plants in the vicinity that naturally release oils. We notify the Country Fire Service and neighbouring property owners when the burn will take place. We take note of humidity, wind direction, speed and ensure we have equipment to put out the fire in case our judgement is wrong.

    Our initial intent in conducting cool burns was assisting the health of an outcrop of acacia victoriae (wattle) in an area that had been stocked with sheep. As part of this process, we deliberately stockpiled and burnt excess fuel, knowing that if that fuel load set alight in the summer, it would set all around it ablaze. When the fuel load is ignited during the cooler months the fire spreads slowly and self extinguishes because of the moisture within surrounding plants.

    My cousin Travis Thomas has been fighting fires for twenty-three years, including the recent Victorian and Kangaroo Island fires. He says, ‘that when Aboriginal land management practices are used there’s less risk of fires spreading and reaching extreme temperatures, simply because the amount of fuel is eliminated.’

    Many of the fires this summer were ignited by lightning strike. It’s evident that Nukunu ancestors implemented cool burns in anticipation of lightning strike, and moved seasonally to reduce chance of getting caught in a place where a fire could get out of control. In the winter they lived in the hills where there’s large river red gums that they shaped to create shelter (shelter trees), and in the spring they moved to the coast where there’s acacia and low lying salt bush, plants that if alight, aren’t near as terrifying as a creek line of river red gums. If a fire did get out of control on the coast, they could retreat to the beach. The existence of shelter trees that are pre-colonial, at least several hundred years old demonstrates that my ancestor’s cool burns worked.

    My Uncle Lindsay says, ‘when we did our first burn, we noticed the eaglehawks come in to see what we were doing, and to dive down on prey getting away from the fire. I felt they were pleased with what we were doing, because they were getting a feed and we were looking after country.’

    Travis says,

    ‘cool burns are most important because birds and animals live in habitat at different levels and cool burns ensure different types of vegetation is always available, and in turn the animals help with seed distribution.’

    A year after our first cool burn there were many new strong green wattle saplings. What we didn’t anticipate was the rapid increase in biodiversity in the area where we conducted the burn.

    Whilst I’ve only conducted a few cool burns, there remain Aboriginal people in this country that are experts in caring for country with fire. The Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation are working alongside some state fire agencies to conduct burns and they conduct cultural burning workshops across Australia with fire authorities, rangers, land councils, and property owners.
    Across the Northern Territory and Queensland, NGO The Nature Conservancy is partnering with Aboriginal communities to protect country. Their research demonstrates that fire management in savannas has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This work also includes examination of the optimal conditions and temperatures of cool burns for maintaining biodiversity.

    As Australia faces the challenge of reducing carbon emissions and protecting citizens from bushfires, it’s time that the nation seeks guidance from those that have effectively managed their land for tens of thousands of years.


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    Gariwerd – Grampians National Park

    Boroka Lookout over Halls Gap

    Once upon a time, the Great Ancestor spirit of Bunjil, the creator, set at work to reform the Earth. He had the task of creation. Of the lakes and the seas, the mountains and the plains, the flora, and the fauna.

    In this came the creation of the Grampians. As Bunjil finished with the sandstone ranges, he presume’s the body of an eagle, the Werpil. Thereupon he flew, to glance from above at his masterpiece: the Grampians. He watched the mountains, and the flowing of the river, the chirping of the birds, and the whispers of the Earth.

    After some time, Bunjil realized the sandstone ranges and his other creations must be named. Thus this task was appointed to the two sons of the frog, Duke. The Bram Bram Bult brothers set out to finish the Great Ancestor’s work, and thereupon Gariwerd came into being, the indigenous name of the Grampians.

    With his work complete, Bunjil thought it was time he took leave and marveled at his creation from up above. And so he transformed into a star in the sky, and till date looks upon his creations and people, in awe and protection. 


    Wildflowers in the Grampians

     The Grampians National Park, referred to as Gariwerd, is situated in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The Grampians are a range of five, rugged sandstone mountains, rising rather abruptly from the western plains. The structure has various textures, being rugged and steep on the eastern side, whilst becoming gentler and smoother as it reaches its western part. Geologically, the formation of the Grampians is a marvel of valleys and peaks that Indigenous Australians residing in and near to the Grampians believe is due to Bunjil’s glory and magnificence that the ridges came into being.

    Gariwerd is home to the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali people, who have lived here for more than 50,000 years. They consider the place to be sacred and special, with immense cultural significance. They believe ancestral spirits to be present at the mountains, and thus wish to safeguard their Dreamtime track, their Songline. Their stories are passed down through generations, by word of mouth storytelling, as well the art of scripture and animations. Many of the aboriginal people have tattoos of Bunjil, the Great Ancestor spirit, on various parts of their body, especially behind the skull. Whilst their rock caves have motifs of animals, birds, humans, and all such creations as a depiction of the work of Bunjil. A few of many sites include Manja (the Cave of Hands), Gulgurn Manja (the flat Rock) and Ngamadjidj (the Cave of Ghosts). Such rock paintings are also kept in shelters in various parts of the park, whilst a very important part of the park is located at its fringes, wherein lies the only known image of Bunjil, created thousands of years ago by the ancestral spirit himself. The image depicts a Buddha-resembling figure, with two Dingoes by his side. This holds immense importance for the Aboriginals of the area, as well as the visitors, as they get an inside look to the Indigenous culture.

    Alongside the rock art sites, the Grampians also present themselves with the adventurous task of rock-climbing. As difficulty and sweat combine with the surreal experience of scaling these rugged ranges, this proves to be a major attraction for adventure-lovers out there. Whilst for those which aren’t fond of heights, there is the enticing aspect of fishing and canoeing in the Lake Bellfield and Lake Wartook. Or the idea of walking within the park, taking in the sights and smells, and getting a breath of fresh air, away from all worldly claims.



    For the nature-loving, the park has a wide variety of animals, ranging from the Australian famous Kangaroos, to emus and the wedge-tailed eagles. Whilst the breathtaking flora includes the very rare Blue Pin Cushion Lily, and other varieties of herbs and shrubs, all on display, blooming and beautiful, especially in springtime.

    The Grampians National Park is a highly enriched cultural site and had also been listed on the Australian National Heritage List. With the opportunity to not only learn the indigenous heritage, but also awe at the beauty of nature, this park is the one-stop for all visitors searching for a culturally enhanced and surreal experience.


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    Arnhem Land; The Land of Wonders


    Wish to go on vacation, away from all worries of everyday life? Want to take a walk down the corridors of Indigenous history? Desire to experience a soulful and enlightening experience? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Arnhem Land is the place to be.

    In 1623, a Dutch captain sailed into the Gulf Carpentaria in his ship, the Arnhem, thereby becoming inspiration for this land to be named, the Arnhem Land. This region is located in the northeast of the 5 northern Australian territories. With a population of about 16000, of which 12000 are the Yolngu people, the area is rich and central to Indigenous history. The traditional owners, Yolngu initially moved to the land tens of thousands of years ago, to get away from the worries of large towns, today residing in outstations curtaining the Arnhem.
    The Yolngu people are culturally rich beings with their own set of beliefs, and a code of life. Their faith links them with the fundamental belief that their life is connected: the past, present, and future. The Yolngu of north-eastern Arnhem have the belief that the all-powerful Wangarr beings were present at the ‘Sacred timeshining’, and what they see today, is all because of their powers of creation. They blessed the area with land (ngirrima) and water, alongside teaching them the way of living. Their language, laws, paintings, scriptures, and ceremonies all trace back to the Wangarrs. After which all things living were assigned one of the two basic moieties, Dhuwa and Yirritja. The land and waters assigned to each of them hold immense spiritual significance. You can often hear the Yolngu say, not that they merely care for the land, or the land is theirs, but instead, that ‘they are the land’. During nighttime tours, visitors are often presented with cultural nights of bonfires and food, often ending with star gazing, or spending time under the dark, gloomy and beautiful sky. The Milky Way in the sky is thought of in Yolngu culture as the ’River of stars’. It is the highway for dead spirits to pass on to the afterlife. It is also believed, that one should not call out the name of the deceased, as this invites them back to Earth, hindering their passage through the highway, to reaching their final abode.

    The Arnhem Land is Eden for those with the love of water. With recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, scuba diving, and roaming the mesmerising white sandy beaches, it attracts visitors of all sorts. Nhulunbuy (on the Gove peninsula) is an absolute treat for the budding-fisherman. The catch here is extremely easy, alongside there being many nearby beaches with entrepreneur beautiful sunsets awaiting your arrival. There is also the presence of wonders of mother Earth, such as the reefs, cays, and estuaries brimming with exotic marine life, making Nhulunbuy rank high on the tourists’ list of favourite places. The Macassan beach on the other hand, differs with the sort of historical aura it emits. It hosts stone structures which had been constructed approximately a century ago, to make everyone aware of the Macassan traders. Again, with beaches like Turtle Beach in walking distance from here, it is the picnic spot bound to attract many.
    The land is rich in representation of the animal kingdom, whether it be the fauna on land, or the enticing marine life. Wildlife is in abundance here with many saltwater crocodiles, nesting turtles, dugongs, as well as the highly-acclaimed sea cucumbers, or trepang, as one may know them in Chinese cuisine.

    The indigenous significance of the area is evident through the rock art it beholds. With depictions of axes, ships, and more, they act as a looking glass to aboriginal history. Found on the Ubirr rock, and Injalak Hill, the paintings are narrations of events of the past, such as the incoming of the Europeans. Mount Borradaile is a heaven for rock art lovers. Acting as a sacred sanctuary, the rock shelters are a window to the past, as they brim with stories. Whether it be the fabulous rainbow serpent, or the handprints shining on the wall, mesmerising visitors with their rugged yet enticing beauty.

    With a single permit letting you in to enjoy the beauty Arnhem Land beholds, what are you waiting for? The sandy beaches, crystal-clear water, and stories of the past await your arrival, and are ready to welcome you, Yolngu-style!

    Our map is due for release in TWO Months. Be the first to hear about it by subscribing below!



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      Uluru Dreamtime


      Right in the heart of the Red Centre lies the most famous monolith of Australia – Uluru. This massive sandstone rock began to form about 550 million years ago, and gained fame due to its historical importance, as home to the Aboriginal Australians: the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. People of these tribes reside near Uluru, due to the spiritual significance it holds for them. Whilst their rich culture and history have termed Uluru as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

      Tourists visit Uluru with the desire to understand its local heritage. Aided by native Anangu tour guides, the visitors get an inside look, brimming with stories of the past. As part of the indigenous adventures, the sightseers also get to enjoy local experiences of dot painting, bush tucker, and traditional bush skills. A helicopter ride from Uluru and around Kata Tjuta, is also one of the famous attractions.

      Uluru is also home to a variety of flora and fauna, with many near-extinct species. Whether it be the rare Mulgara, the Great Desert Skink, or the ever-famous kangaroos of Australia such as the Red Kangaroo, Uluru paints a lovely picture of the Animal Kingdom. Whilst for those who hold fondness of flora, the Centralian Bloodwood and very rare Adders Tongue Ferns are only some of the many varieties of vegetation present, as exhibitions of nature.

      The beauty of Uluru lies not only in its rocky structure, but its surrounding environment too. The atmosphere is a sight for sore eyes, as the sun shines on the rock, its rays lighting up the area in an array of colors. It glows red at dawn, varying throughout the day in hues of browns and oranges, to finally settle on red at sunset, and then the grey of the night. Such natural attributes have assisted Uluru in becoming symbolized as an epitome of beauty.

      Uluru is rich with Dreamtime stories of the Anangu ancestors. With guided tours, such stories are narrated to tourists, enlightening them with the mystique and culture of the area. The cultural story surrounding the formation of Uluru is:

      There lived two tribes of ancestral spirits. Invited to a grand dinner, they did not show up because they were distracted by the Sleepy Lizard Women. The hosts, in anger, sang evil into the mud sculpture, which thereupon came to life. Then began a massive battle, which resulted in deaths of leaders of both tribes. Due to the amount of bloodshed, and remorse felt by the Earth  itself, it rose in grief, becoming Uluru.

      It is not only the formation of Uluru, but also the boulders, the caves, the inscriptions on the sandstone which speak a different story of the past:

      When the Bell-bird brothers visited the Lizards, they were handed a small piece of emu to suffice for their hunger. In resentment, the brothers set fire to the lizard home, whilst trying to escape by climbing the high rock, only to fall back, and burn to their deaths.

      It is thought that the grey lichen on the rock face is remains of the smoke, whilst the two boulders are the half-buried lizard men.

      Uluru holds immense spiritual importance for the local Indigenous people, who believe they can communicate and receive blessings from ancestral spirits by touching certain rock outcroppings. The rocks are therefore considered blessed, and those taking rocks from the formation may suffer misfortune. Due to its sacredness, visitors are told to not climb the rock, since it is considered a traditional Dreamtime track, whilst also being associated with various Mala ceremonies as it was the route opted by Mala men upon their arrival to Uluru. Uluru is also a dangerous climb, with its steepness, and windiness at the top. Therefor resisting those medically and physically unfit to make the climb. We support the locals in not climbing Uluru and we ask all tourists not to climb Uluru. As we feel strongly about this, we will not be facilitating any bookings or tour companies that climb the rock.

      The Anangu feel their solemn duty to protect people visiting Uluru, due to its spiritual significance, and thus prevent them from making such a strenuous and maybe fatal climb. Moreover, after certain instances of possible defamation of the rock, it has been declared unscalable for visitors in the near future (effective 26th October 2019). However, with other indigenous experiences to be enjoyed, and the beauty of nature calling your name, Uluru awaits your arrival, with the hope that its culture and sacredness will be upheld.

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      Why Adam Goodes was the voice that we all needed.

      A different look into the documentary ‘The Final Quarter’

      Adam Goodes

      Adam Goodes received and is still receiving so many opinions about his actions in his final years in AFL football. Sweeping statements were made about his character, his actions and intentions. His actions were called violent, over the top and he was ridiculed for every move he made. So, I’m not highlighting the controversy that surrounded his final years, but I am highlighting his comments, his composure and the strength that he carried throughout that demeaning time. The below quotes are taken directly from the documentary ‘The Final Quarter’.

      Mike Sheahan:

      Is the game doing enough to cater to indigenous players?
      AG: Yeah, I think so, we’ve got more opportunities than ever, I think the clubs becoming more culturally aware of its indigenous players…

      [on whether racism is almost eradicated]

      “almost isn’t good enough, it definitely hasn’t, and look, it’s something that I’ve grown up with, it happened in junior ranks, it happened at high school, it happens when you walk around the streets in your community it happens when you are going down to the shops to buy some milk to have breakfast but here, you’ve finally made it, you’ve done good for yourself you’ve made it to the AFL and it happens again and you just think, when is this ever going to end”

      [on Nicki Winmar]

      “Once I started playing footy, and started to establish myself in the game I realised and it was just one of those statements that really made me think, you know what, that I should be proud of my heritage, my culture and proud of who I am”

      During the 2013 Indigenous round Adam Goodes was called an ape by a young Collingwood supporter, he pointed her out to security, the next day, this is what he had to say.

      “yeah look, I’m pretty gutted to be honest, ah, the win, um the first of its kind in 13 years, to win by 37 points against Collingwood, to play such a pivotal role and it just means nothing, to come to the boundary line and to get a 13 year old girl call me an ape, um and its not the first time on the footy field, I have been referred to as a monkey or an ape, it was, it was shattering, racism had a face last night, and it was a 13 year old girl, but it’s not her fault, she’s 13 she’s still so innocent, I don’t put any blame on her unfortunately its what she hears, the environment that she’s grown up in..”
      “I felt like I was in high school again, being bullied, being called all of these names because of my appearance, and I didn’t stand up for myself in high school, but I am a lot more confident, I am a lot more proud about who I am and of my culture and I decided to stand up last night and I will continue to stand up”

      During the time that Adam was under considerable pressure to maintain his composure in the heat of abuse he becomes an ambassador for the ‘Racism, it stops with me’campaign. The comments have to be disabled because of all the racism that was being posted. Collingwood President Eddie Mcguire suggests Adam Goodes should play King Kong, adding more hatred and attention to the growing racism bandwagon. Mcguire later apologised for this statement.

      Adam Goodes was awarded Australian of the year, he was asked his thoughts on Australia day/survival day/invasion day.

      “For me it has been a journey up until this point, so there was a lot of anger and sorrow for this day and very much the feeling of invasion day, but over the last 5 years you know, I have really changed my perception of Australia day and what it is to be Australian, for me its about celebrating the positives, you know we are still here as indigenous people, our culture is one of the longest surviving cultures in the world over 40,000 years (now we know its over 60,000 years) that is something that we need to celebrate and all Australians need to celebrate it if there are people out there thinking it is a great day for Australia well it is, we have to celebrate over 225 years of European settlement and that’s who we are, right now that’s who we are as a nation, but we also need to acknowledge our fantastic history, our Aboriginal history of over 40,000 years and just know that some aboriginal people out there today are feeling a little bit angry, are feeling a little bit soft in the heart because of that and that’s ok as well.”

      He released the ‘Recognise’ campaign which highlights the fact that the first nations people aren’t recognised in the constitution.
      [on the constitution] “There is nothing in the constitution right now, not a single word that mentions that anyone was here in 1788, so we need to acknowledge that simple fact and include the first Australians in the constitution at long last”

      A pivotal moment in AFL, when Essendon supporters point out another Essendon supporter for racist slanders against Adam Goodes during a game.

      “It is disappointing, and its not a comfortable thing to talk about and it’s definitely not a comfortable to go through so yeah its going to cause a stir and its going to cause people to have conversations about it but lets talk about it..”

      Goodes played in the 2014 Grand final and was noticeably booed the entire game.
      [Adam on being repeatedly booed whilst playing football]

      “It’s not something that I’m not used to, there’s been plenty of time I’ve been booed at football grounds, sometimes it’s a mark of respect that the opposition fans don’t want you to play well”

      [How racist is Australia]

      “There is so many like minded people like yourself and mine in this country, I would hate to put a figure or say this much but the history of our country is built on so much lies and racial policies and things that have suppressed my people and lots of minorities in this country the way I see it is I can use my position to educate people to see-through the things they have been taught growing up and for them to open their minds and think oh actually that isn’t true, captain cook didn’t found Australia as I was taught in high school ..”

      In 2015 during the Indigenous round Adam celebrated a goal with a war dance, after the game Mathew Richardson (former Richmond captain) questioned Adam about the celebration.

      “Just a little bit of inspiration from the under 16’s Boomerang kids who taught us a little bit of a war cry so just a little tribute to those guys… Indigenous round, proud to be representing”

      The next day, he was asked further questions about the celebratory dance “From my point of view, my team mates loved it, the Carlton players loved it, it’s not something they need to be getting their backs up against the wall about, is this the lesson we want to teach our children, that when we don’t understand something we get angry, we put our backs up against the wall – oh that’s offensive, no,

      if it’s something we don’t understand, let’s have a conversation, what was Goodesy doing?.. if we are telling our people out there you can’t represent your culture or represent where you come from, in a round that is specifically about acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people what are we saying?”

      Goodes, only had 11 free kicks in the year – ranker 168 on the list for free kicks – people saying they are booing him for his ‘free kicks’
      [After continued booing]

      “It’s just a continual battle at the moment, and it’s frustrating… just to have all that bad energy targeted towards me and its just disappointing, you know I’m coming towards the end of my career and if I leave the game this year and that is the aftermath of what’s happened at the end of my career, I’d be really disappointed with that”

      Adam Goodes was booed until the final siren of his last game. He refused his victory lap at the 2015 Grand Final.

      Since this time Adam Goodes (along with Michael O’Loughlin) have founded the organisation ‘Go Foundation’ this foundation creates opportunities for Indigenous youth through education.

      Adam Goodes showed tremendous courage in the face of pure cruelty. The way that he held himself during this difficult time is extremely admirable and vital in the cultural awareness cause. He spoke clearly, knowledgeably and vulnerably in order to educate people and for this we are so thankful.
      Goodesy, brother, uncle, we owe you for your strength and your courage during that hard time and for the continued work you have done for our people since. I thank you for all you have done in the name of reconciliation.
      You can watch the documentary here

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      Why YOU should get excited about NAIDOC

      (Sunday 7th July – Sunday 14th July)

      A National Celebration of all things Aboriginal & Islander. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Initially NAIDOC began as a protest against the unfair treatment of Indigenous people in Australia. These protests date back as early as the 1920’s.

      Since 1991 there has been a dedicated theme to the NAIDOC celebrations. The theme changes each year to reflect a particular focus that the NAIDOC Committee wishes to highlight. This year the theme is VOICE, TREATY, TRUTH.

      “It’s time for our knowledge to be heard through our voice. – an Indigenous voice of this country that is over 65,000 plus years old…. They are the first words spoken on this continent. Languages that passed down lore, culture and knowledge for over millennia.” – John Paul Janke (National NAIDOC Co Chair).

      Although NAIDOC week reminds people of the very tragic history of Indigenous Australians, it also celebrates the achievements and aspirations of Indigenous Australians despite their past. NAIDOC is the most celebrated time of year for indigenous people and a time of hope and moving forward.

      If you are a bit curious about indigenous culture now is a great time to get involved. NAIDOC week has numerous events all over the country ranging from cultural displays, book readings, cultural walks, smoking ceremonies, cook ups and dinner dances.

      The events are designed for people of all backgrounds to immerse themselves in Indigenous culture so there is no need to be shame job (embarrassed). The whole week is dedicated to educating and celebrating all thing’s that make us special and unique and you will find our Indigenous brothers and sisters to be very welcoming. Don’t be afraid to ask some silly questions, no question is a silly question, and experience a world that is truly connected to country.

      I also couldn’t sign off without mentioning my mumma, who was awarded the NAIDOC – ‘Because of her we can’ award during last years NAIDOC events. She was recognised for all of her hard work in the Indigenous community in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula and I couldn’t be more proud.

      (Me and mumma at last years NAIDOC week event)

      Jake and I are based in Victoria and we highly recommend the following events:

      Our favourite NAIDOC events;

      Victoria events
      Peninsula Hot Springs
      Peninsula Hot Springs hosts a week long event each year for NAIDOC week. This NAIDOC there is a strong line up of different activities for kids, teenagers and adults.
      Don’t miss out on the healing Yidaki (didgeridoo) Performance/ meditation by Lionel Lauch from Living Culture (our favourite). If you are bringing the kids then definitely get them along to the Baluk Arts creative session. More info can be found here

      Victorian NAIDOC Gala
      For those with a higher budget, a strong decadent event of NAIDOC is definitely the Victorian NAIDOC gala. This event has an array of First Nations entertainers. You can book your table or seat here

      A huge shout out to our intern Dulain Kulatunga who researched a number of events across Australia
      NSW events
      Dreamtime Story Telling with Dymocks
      Dymocks are hosting a ‘Dreamtime Story Telling with Dymocks’ – Discover stories of creation of Indigenous Australians.
      Date: 7 July – 12 July 10:30am -11:00am, hosted at Westfield Chatswood, book here

      NAIDOC week launch
      Bayside Council are hosting a morning tea, flag procession ceremony and a cultural performance to begin the NAIDOC festivities.
      Date: 8 July, 10:30am – 12:30pm, hosted at Westfield Eastgardens. For further information, click here

      Panel Discussion – VOICE, TREATY, TRUTH
      Panel Discussion on the NAIDOC theme: Voice, Treaty, Truth. – The panellists will explore the NAIDOC Week theme of Voice, Treaty, Truth and what we as a nation need to do to support a meaningful and shared future with our First Peoples.
      Date: 11 July 7pm-8pm, for more information, click here

      Walangari Diramu Aboriginal Dance and Didgeridoo Company
      Hear haunting sounds of the didgerdoo and learn how it is made and played. See Aboriginal artefacts and learn bush foods and medicines. Learn Aboriginal dance and perform it with them. Diramu will explain the importance of the principles of NAIDOC and will teach the audience some Aboriginal words.
      Date: 8 July 10:30am – 11:30am, hosted at Ryde Library, for more information, click here

      Western Australia events
      NAIDOC week Walk
      NAIDOC Week 2019 will celebrate the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, under the theme – Voice. Treaty. Truth. This theme acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.
      Date: 7 July 8:30am-12pm, located Kent St Weir Park, for more information, click here

      South West NAIDOC Awards Night 2019
      Celebrating and acknowledging the contributions by individuals, businesses and organisation made towards a better future for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people.
      Date: 7 July 5:30pm – 7:30pm, located at Dolphin Discovery Centre, for more information, click here

      NAIDOC Week Guest Speaker Honey Webb
      Join Honey Webb a respected local Aboriginal women for a yarn, to hear her story and gain a better understanding of the voices, truths, achievements and history of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
      Date: 10 July, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, location: South Perth Library, for more information, click here

      Tasmania events
      NAIDOC Week Forum
      Join influential Tasmanians in conversation on the theme VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH. for NAIDOC Week 2019. Panel members include Aunty Patsy Cameron, Rufus Black, Ben Bowering and Tracey Puklowski.
      Date: 8 July, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, location: School of Architecture and Design, for more information, click here

      NAIDOC week Forum
      Join influential Tasmanians in conversation on the theme VOICE. TREATY. TRUTH. for NAIDOC Week 2019. Pannelists include Rodney Dillon, Ruth Langford, Thomas Riley and Tyenna Hogan
      Date: 9 July 5:30pm – 7:30pm, location: Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, for more information, click here

      NAIDOC Quiz Night
      The night will include special guest MC Rob Braslin for laughs and quiz extraordinaire Isabella Roldan.
      Date: 11 July, 6:00pm – 10:00pm location: Republic Bar & Café, for tickets, click here

      Queensland events
      NAIDOC week launch
      Brisbane City Council Official launch; a time for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to have a discussion. Experience; panel discussions, Traditional and contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers and arts and crafts.
      Date: 8 July, 11:00am – 3:00pm, location: Brisbane City Hall, for more information, click here

      Every Day Brave Documentary Screenings
      Everyday Brave profiles Indigenous Australians who have fought daily battles against discrimination, apathy and ignorance to make a real difference. They come from across the country – bush and city, mission and coastal town. Highly regarded within their own communities, they remain largely unknown to the mainstream.
      Date: 8 July, 10:00am – 11:00am, location: Tiaro Library, for more information, click here

      South Australia events
      Youth Awards Ball
      Celebrating the achievements and contributions of South Australian Aboriginal young people, 17-24yrs of age in their chosen field. A Non Alcohol, Non Smoking event held at night with entertainment by young local Aboriginal artists, during the night Awards will be presented to recipients by our Award Sponsors. Motivational speeches by local Youth Ambassador and Elders.
      Date: 12 July, 7pm –11:30pm, location: Chasers Restaurant & Function Centre, for more information, click here

      Aboriginal Art Workshop
      Kaurna artist Corey Turner will lead this hands on Aboriginal Art workshop. Learn about traditional and contemporary Kaurna art, and paint your own canvas to keep! All materials supplied.
      Date: 13 July 10:30am – 12pm, location: Aldinga Library, for more information, Click here

      Northern Territory events
      Voice, Treaty, Truth – Talk by Leanne Liddle
      Leanne Liddle began her career as South Australia’s first Aboriginal policewoman in 1988. Hear her talk about the importance of recognising truths, challenging untruths, and the difficult conversations that inevitably result.
      Date: 9 July 5:15pm – 6:45pm, location: Northern Territory Archives Centre, for more information, click here

      Top End Naidoc Awards 2019
      The Top End NAIDOC Awards 2019 night concludes NAIDOC week with a Gala Event, Awards, Buffet Dinner & Entertainment. The event is not-for profit with proceedings going directly to celebrate NAIDOC week.
      Date: 13 July 06:30pm location: Darwin, for more information, click here