Hey Mum don’t put too much food out, we want to take some to the park for the homeless people.
And sure enough my kids would go down just before dark and give food to those in need, so my kids were doing that too. I’ve handed these values to my children – especially because at this time, you didn’t have shelters or things like that. This is the way it was taught to me by my Grandmother who was a strong First Nation woman from Yarrabah and she taught me that and she instilled that into me and I instilled that into my children and even today my children are still look at those people, who are worse off than us, and share with them.
How do you celebrate NAIDOC Week?
I go to all the free celebrations but it’s a bit disappointing to see all the focus on people who are getting paid in big jobs and saying that they’re doing this and doing that. You never see those silent people who plug away for their community.
We’ve got to recognise those people who built this foundation up for the young ones. People are forgetting about us Elders who’ve been building bridges for the young ones today. They’re not recognising us and we do feel invisible, but I we still attend events and celebrate the past.
We’re handing down what I learnt from my Grandmother, the sharing and caring and I’m handing it down to my niece and my children.
It’s about sharing and caring for other people and I’ve always said to my children:
You go out there and you get it. You want it, you get it. You’re just as good as that next white man next to you.
That’s what I instilled into my children and my children are doing it for their own children because we’ve got to get up and step up. As Aboriginal people, we’ve got to step up otherwise we’ll fall behind again. Because when I grew up, you’d go to the shop and you’d stand in the queue and they’d serve that white man before they serve us and I don’t want that to happen today. So now that’s why our kids are now stepping up and saying, we’re going to get good at it and get educated and we need to get that piece of paper to say, “yes we can compete against the next person, because we’re just as good them.”
Unfortunately I don’t see much being done for women at the moment. I’d love to see a parenting course rolled out to our community, and my niece Sarah is very much pushing for this. This was one of my dreams as we can’t blame kids for bad behaviour if their parents aren’t able to properly care for them.
That’s what I would like, to see more done for women in the sense of:
Come on, get it together, let’s work together and do something for your children.
If we could get women out of violent situations and just take them out to the beach or the movies or bring someone in to show them how to look after themselves, I think it would be better. Lots would be better in the home. And even just to cook a decent meal, have people come in and teach these women how to cook a proper meal. Take them shopping, how to look after their houses. It’s got to happen for the family to be whole again.
What message do you have for women this NAIDOC Week?
My message to Indigenous women this NAIDOC Week is to go to school and get educated.
I didn’t have any doors open for me growing up, so make sure you grab these opportunities with both hands. Don’t worry about having boyfriends and getting pregnant, that’s not what it’s all about.
It’s about you, you as a woman. You as a female. Go out there and get educated go and get whatever you can for yourself.