Went to a NAIDOC event at the University of Sydney, with the theme: ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth.’
Keynote speaker Teela Reid, a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman born and raised by a single mum in Gilgandra western NSW, told us of her journey from a PE teacher to lawyer and United Nations representative. Now she practices criminal, civil and administrative law and was involved as a Working Group leader on the Constitutional dialogue process that resulted in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Statement calls for the voices of First Nations people to be enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and have a say in laws and policies.
Next, there was a panel discussion with Teela, Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Services) and Jeremy Heathcote (Manager — Indigenous Employment), which was led by Alisi Tutuila, founder of Aspire Indigenous.
The discussion mostly centred around how to tag Aboriginal research so it was easier to find; how to collaborate with inner city and western Sydney Aboriginal groups (i.e. not focus only on regional country groups), and that we should all read Indigenous author Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, as it puts forward a view of Aboriginal people as crop growers with villages and aquaculture systems (rather than nomadic hunter-gatherers).
It was a very informative and, at times, emotional discussion and I was very glad I went. Learnt a lot.