To help celebrate NAIDOC Week 2019 (7-14 July), and following on from NAIDOC Week 2018, we are pleased to profile two inspiring Indigenous Churchill Fellows, Mandy Young and Jessa Rogers, who share their experiences, achievements and aspirations, along with perspectives on this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth’.
Mandy Young received her Fellowship in 2006, to examine successful community-based child sexual assault healing circles being implemented in Canadian Aboriginal communities. Mandy shares her stand out personal moments, the challenges she experienced, what she has shared and achieved since returning, and her perspectives on this year’s NAIDOC theme Voice – Treaty – Truth.
As Mandy powerfully writes: “I think it is critical that the broader Australian community acknowledges and accepts our experience and truth and we land on an agreed way forward together. This not only helps in the healing of our people, but strengthens the role and contribution that our amazing culture can have in this great country.”
We are more than just art, and we are more than just disadvantage. We are a strong resilient people with the longest living culture in the world which is based on kindness and respect for people and the land. Let’s use that to strengthen the fabric of broader society.”
Jessa Rogers received her Fellowship in late 2018 and is eagerly planning her trip for later this year to examine English language acquisition methods for Indigenous and diverse school-aged students, while strengthening and maintaining home culture and languages. In her interview Jessa shares some of her aspirations and Fellowship plans. As she explains:
“I hope to assist educators in creating culturally supportive, linguistically diverse environments for Aboriginal students. It is important we learn from others on the best ways to protect our Aboriginal languages while equipping our youth with the English skills they need in modern Australia.”
“It feels particularly timely to be undertaking this project now, as 2019 has been declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations General Assembly. This makes 2019 a really great opportunity for all Australians to learn more about our Australian Indigenous languages – especially the fact that 90% of them are considered endangered.”
To help celebrate NAIDOC Week 2019, we are also very pleased to announce and showcase a new digital artwork by 2018 Churchill Fellow and Aboriginal artist Susan Betts. Commissioned by the Churchill Trust, Susan’s work titled ‘Journey’s Connections’ is a contemporary design with an accompanying story.