This week marks the beginning celebrating NAIDOC Week.
The 2018 national NAIDOC Theme is "BECAUSE OF HER, WE CAN".
For my overseas friends out there, NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians - (https://www.naidoc.org.au/about/history)
Women play very significant roles in our lives - family, community and also on a national level. I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of some very lovely, but strong ladies. Ladies that are very fair, but also give you (and will still give you) a good kick up the backside if you need it. It doesn't matter how old you are.
Women fought strong and hard to keep families together in a time tough time in Australia's history. Some becoming mothers at an early age to their younger brothers and sisters after the loss of their own mothers. My Great-Granny Flora lost her mother when she was nine years old. I was still playing with my Barbies at the age of nine. I couldn't even begin to imagine what life was like for her.
Australia has a history of proud, strong and talented Indigenous women. From Truganini to tennis champ, Evonne Goolagong Cawley. The list is endless and will continue to grow, with up and coming Indigenous women; all trailblazers in their own right.
Upon reflection about the NAIDOC theme this year, I have to tell you about my time at an Indigenous Education Conference in Brisbane.
I know it's not the case for many, but I loved school. I wasn't the most academically gifted kid, but I tried. That's all anyone can ever do. I liked it because it was fun, I mostly had great teachers and I loved learning. I loved learning because I felt it was my duty to. The lady in the photo there inspired my love of school. The major regret in her life she had (despite her hardships - there was many), was that she didn't have the chance to go to school.
So simple and straight to the point.
For a person who learnt to read from baked bean tins and with some help from her father, Granny Flora made it a point of reading when she could, reading the paper today, watching the news and being informed.
It is from this, that I never took my education for granted. I realised the importance of school. I realised the importance of the struggle my elders had. Some had access to limited education, some were flat out refused and denied an education. Their struggles and hardship have enabled me to have the best there is today. It's my duty to do well in life because of this. It's my responsibility. Yeah. I might be on the soapbox, but I don't care.
Knowledge is power.
And it's because of her, I can!