NAIDOC Week is a time where Australians come together to celebrate all the wonderful aspects of Indigenous culture.
This year’s theme Voice, treaty and truth: let’s work together, celebrates and recognises the unity among Indigenous Australians when it comes to Indigenous affairs and issues.
The 2019 theme came as a result of the 2017 Uluru Statement and since then, the idea for a treaty has grown legs.
Despite there being different opinions on the wants and needs of Indigenous Australia, it’s fair to say that people are united with this year’s theme.
At the Gold Coast Suns, we will be acknowledging NAIDOC Week by wearing our Indigenous guernsey this weekend against Adelaide.
Since the Suns were established nine years ago we’ve had around 14 Indigenous players come through our club, including the five current Indigenous players.
As a playing group, we’re active in our community and work closely with Luther Cora, who is a local dancer, artist and father. Luther has played a pivotal role in educating the club on all things to do with Indigenous culture.
As a more senior figure in my community now I take pride in being able to give back not only to the AFL community but also to the wider Indigenous community through Harbrow Mentoring.
I created Harbrow Mentoring in 2010 with my brother Marc and our initial aim was to deliver school holiday sporting programs to young people in communities in Cape York. But we have since grown and now take a more holistic approach which focuses on key three pillars: sports, mentoring and leadership.
Being a mentor in my local community provides me with a good balance between football and my life away from the field.
Getting out in the community and helping youth to achieve their dreams and help create pathways to be able to do that is something I’m incredibly proud of.
Support from the community and the Gold Coast Suns has been vital in helping us to achieve our goals.
Everyone involved plays their part which is really important because the more we can share our message in the community, the more people we can try to support.
Harbrow Mentoring is about us being able to reflect on our experiences throughout our lives and utilise that to mentor the community and give back.
As an organisation we want to continually build and try to have an impact on as many people as we can.
There’s no end point in what we want to achieve or where we want to get to – our goal is to continually evolve as an organisation.
As I progress through my role as a mentor I’m continually learning and to be able to have an impact on as many people as we can and try to better everyone’s lives is a driving factor behind what we do.
Being Indigenous and recognising my culture is a significant part of my life.
Everything I do comes from my Indigenous background – my mum is Indigenous and my dad is non-Indigenous so it was great in my childhood to be able to recognise both strands of my heritage.
Growing up, I celebrate my culture and shared in traditional activities, participating in dance, playing the didgeridoo, fishing and hunting.
I was fortunate to be able to celebrate my culture growing up and NAIDOC Week provides a vehicle to be able to share, educate and teach Indigenous culture going forward.