I’ve inherited two layers of resilience, individual and cultural. As an Aboriginal person, culturally, I have survived through evolution, invasion, dispossession, and so many unjust policies that were implemented to control and change my heritage. It was particularly sad and extremely inappropriate for Aboriginal people to be perceived and/or classified as ‘flora’ and ‘fauna’ for so many years until the referendum came about in 1967. As an individual, I’ve found my resilience to move through the hatred and judgment and I couldn’t have done this without my ancestors’ story-telling and the practise of the ‘lore’ in my culture.
We all have fear in us and it is a warning emotion. My greatest fear in life would be that people around me are slowly disconnecting from their resilience and consciousness. I couldn’t deal with fear without my spirituality. It’s a bridge between my understanding, emotions, and feelings. If I didn’t have my spirituality, I wouldn’t have empathy at all. To me, important values such as empathy, respect, compassion and love determine the way we, as a collective community, relate to people, animals and the sacred land.
I was silly enough during my youth to let the negative comments about my race get the better of me. I began to question if they were true and this made my confidence low so I went through my teens and twenties feeling ashamed of who I was as an Aboriginal person. It wasn’t until I became an aunty and had my children that I began to change my thinking. I needed to be true to myself, so I began to peel the shame away and discover more about myself as a person and I wouldn’t be able to do that if I didn’t find the confidence to have conversations on the negative judgments people have towards my culture. By sharing my unique culture to others has empowered many people to take up challenges in life with confidence and a sense of strong identity, and I sincerely hope many more people will be willing to step up and become “role models” to help others who are struggling in their life.