As part of National Reconciliation Week, West Coast AFLW player and AFLPA Indigenous Advisory Board member Alicia Janz, part of the Meriam Mir people, has written this article for aflplayers.com.au to highlight some of the challenges the Indigenous people of Australia face in their communities.
As children, we learn there are two sides to every story.
This is the same for our Country’s history.
At school I learnt Australian history began in 1788, but what about the 60,000 year old civilization that thrived before that? Who holds that knowledge and how do we learn that knowledge?
Some Indigenous people have learnt this history through their families and try to share this knowledge, a different perspective, with others.
There can be fear, a learned behaviour from past experiences, of how people will react to these stories. Will there be interest or anger, will they be allowed to speak or told to be silent? Will it be ignored or will there be change?
We as Indigenous people, are still trying to overcome the inequity we face from past policies and procedures that discriminated against us over the past 200 years which still impact on us today.
In sport, a coach has a vision for their team and they embark on a mission to win the Grand Final.
They give constructive feedback to make you a better athlete, there is support provided on and off the field and an entire army of supporters to carry you there.
All to be one step closer to achieving that mission.
As an athlete you listen to your coach and trust they have your best interests at heart and you have your army backing you the entire way.
We have a mission, to have equity and an opportunity to succeed in life.
In order for us to succeed in our mission, we need all of us, the Australian nation, ‘In This Together’.
For everyone to have the same vision, for us all to trust each other, so every one of us have equity and an opportunity to succeed in life.
Those of us put at a disadvantage may need a helping hand. Similar to a skipper taking a rookie or draftee under their wing, a Captain giving their teammates a platform to speak and of course the faithful army of supporters to lift a whole team.
We are a minority in our homeland.
Will we be allowed to speak, will you be the one to help us achieve our mission?
Will you be my ally?
National Reconciliation Week runs from May 27-June 3.