The Chair of NACCHO Matthew Cooke on behalf of the NACCHO board and all members congratulate the 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and a Caring for Country project who were recognised at the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony for their outstanding contribution to our communities and the nation.
The awards night were held in the host city of Adelaide as part of 2015 NAIDOC Week celebrations.
The 2015 National NAIDOC Award recipients are:
“ALL THE STORIES” Behind these award winners VIEW HERE NITV
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Tauto Sansbury, South Australia
- Person of the Year – Rosalie Kunoth Monks, Northern Territory
- Female Elder of the Year – Veronica Perrule Dobson, Northern Territory
- Male Elder of the Year – Graham Taylor, Western Australia
- Caring for Country – Warddeken Caring for Country Project, Northern Territory
- Youth of the Year– Chris Tamwoy, Queensland
- Artist of the Year – Daren Dunn, New South Wales
- Scholar of the Year – Michelle Deshong, Queensland
- Apprentice of the Year – Ashley Farrall, Queensland
- Sportsperson of the Year – Ryan Morich, Western Australia
MEET THE NAIDOC PERSON OF THE YEAR
“Let’s accept and value the First People of this country; value their language; value their songs and let’s talk about standing on sacred ground in real terms […] Let’s lead our nation, whether we’re black, blue or pink, it doesn’t matter.
We are humans on our sacred ground here together. I need now to call for that treaty, which seems to be leaving us all the time while we talk about entering other people’s constitutions.
We have our constitution. Let our white brothers and sisters come to us and look at our constitution, too please.
Thank you very much, everyone.”
From the acceptance speech VIEW HERE
Person of the Year – Rosalie Kunoth Monks, Northern Territory
Rosalie, the chancellor of the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, has never been stronger in her fight for social justice and equality for her people.
Rosalie was born in 1937 at Arapunya known as Utopia Station in the Northern Territory where she learnt the laws of her people, the Anmatjere.
After moving to Alice Springs to attend school, Rosalie was cast in the lead role in the world-renowned Australian classic film Jedda in 1953 at 16 years old.
Later, Rosalie spent a decade as a nun in a Melbourne convent before leaving to establish the first Aboriginal hostel in Victoria. In 1970 she married, settled in Alice Springs and became involved in social work and politics.
POEM PERFORMED AT THE NATIONAL NAIDOC AWARDS BY
Half caste, he said to me,
That I wasn’t one of those real Aborigines.
Said he spent some time with them in the outback.
Then he looked at my skin said I wasn’t even black.
I was more of a brown he went onto explain,
His voice, the whole time, a certain disdain.
He stared a bit longer then said I suppose
When I look at your face I see a bit of the nose.
Oh, I said, a bit taken aback,
To this obvious expert on everything black
My head in a muddle just trying to see
Why this man had a need to be questioning me
I thought for a minute then said to the guy
Are you waiting for me to try and justify
The complexities of identity
When it comes to Aboriginality?
Well, he said in a know it all voice
I don’t understand how you made a choice
Proclaiming that you’re an Aboriginal
When it’s obvious that you’re not really a full
Okay I thought, I’ll play this game
And proceeded to ask him what was his name?
Christopher Smith he said full of pride
A name revealing his English side
So calmly I said, my friend what are you?
He said I’m Australian mate through and through
Now come on I said, is that not a myth?
From the Great land of England comes the name Smith
Your heritage lies in a faraway land
So to say you’re from here, I don’t understand
You’re English, you said it, it’s there in your name
And that’s when all the obscenities came
You Abo, you boong, you know it all coon
It seemed that my friend had spoken too soon
Just moments ago I was not the real thing
Yet now by his words my heritage clings
Of course he was Aussie, I knew that he was
But I wanted to show him that simply because
I have other bloodlines flowing in me
It does not alter my Identity
The lifestyle I’ve lived, the way that I’ve grown
My identity is all that I’ve ever known
Just in the way he is Anglo Saxon
But yet in his heart he is Australian
I don’t question his call, I accept it as fact
So why do his questions feel like an attack
Relentlessly judging to prove he is right
When the truth is, I’ll never be white
It seemed that the man would go back to the days
When classification was all of the craze
A quarter, a sixteenth, an eighth or a half
Fuck all that shit cos I’m full in my heart
I’m full and I’m rich thanks to my history
The roots firmly planted in my family tree
Yet he wants to judge for he learns with his eyes
Too ignorant to learn from his mind
He can’t understand what it means to be black
Yet he passes his judgement so matter of fact
I bid him good day, okay that’s a lie
I wasn’t really that nice or polite
It’s just so annoying when fools come along
Who spend their time trying to prove that you’re wrong
I don’t understand what gives them this drive
Believing that they have this God given right
To tell me what I am yet don’t know my life
The arrogance just unbelievably rife
See, there are some members in my family
Who are blessed with the gene where they’re darker than me
But to say that I’m less because my skin’s not as black
Just shows how much knowledge these idiots lack
I speak the same language, share the same roots
So why from my colour do I have to prove?
To someone who never has given a day
To sit with my family and learn of our ways
Whose eyes will not open for fear they will see
How wrong that they were in labelling me
Part Aboriginal, not really full
Sickening terms that I never will
Use to describe me or those of my peers
So to those would be experts let me make this clear
What’s in my heart, the connection I feel
Is something unseen but totally real
And unless you have lived it you don’t know it’s strength
And you’ll never disprove it no matter what length
You go to because is it something so true
Just as is the Australian in you
No matter your last name whatever it be
McGuire or Tomic or Andrews or Lee
Names that arrived from a foreign shore
Yet you are Australian to your very core
So please understand when I say that I am
A proud Australian, Aboriginal Man
And because I have other bloodlines in me
It does not alter my identity.
© Steven Oliver
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