“I work a couple of days a week as a Junior Software Engineer with the Indigenous Data Network, looking at how to empower Indigenous communities with community level decision making. I’m also an ambassador for Indigitek, who provide pathways into STEM for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. On top of that I’ve set myself a challenge to create a new start up every month.
Young Aboriginal people are generally more able to be part of mainstream society in more substantial ways than our parents and grandparents. We’re not confronted with the same level of segregation and discrimination.
Young Indigenous Australians learn how to walk in two worlds — navigating between what it means to be an Indigenous person and what it means to be an Australian more generally.
Australia has a long way to go to bridge that gap. We should be constitutionally recognising and embracing our ancient First Nations people. There would be a humility in coming to terms with the history of race relations between the colonies, the federated state and Indigenous Australians. There are so many horrible things that have happened to Indigenous communities all across the continent that aren’t acknowledged by federal parliament.
In the 2000’s our prime minister flatly refused to give an apology to the stolen generation. This sort of leadership is deeply problematic. If you were educated in Australia you were also intentionally kept ignorant, with state and national curriculums only covering Australia’s history from 1770, when Captain Cook arrived onwards, neglecting the 60,000 years before this.
Our political and education systems need to do a better job at acknowledging the true history of this country. But individuals also have to take responsibility for their own learning. Opening your eyes by reading books like Dark Emu is just a start.
I like to meet non-Indigenous people where they’re at and have conversations they haven’t had the opportunity to have.
And this is the most important thing about s p a c e — the people that you meet. People from really diverse backgrounds with broad experiences and goals, people I wouldn’t get to meet normally or get the opportunity to talk to. It’s good to get a shake up and see things from different perspectives.”
*Interview and write-up- s p a c e storyteller, Sian Gooden