Jess - along with actor Miranda Tapsell and model Sam Harris - is fronting the #ItsTime campaign launching in the February 2020 issue of marie claire. The year 2020 marks 250 years since James Cook’s first voyage to Australia, yet today Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people still aren’t acknowledged in our constitution.
The time is now for recognition and reform, as called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We’re calling for the government to take real action, not mere symbolism, and we have partnered with dozens of Australia’s biggest and brightest names to unite for change.
Here, Jessica Mauboy opens up about what recognition means to her…
JESSICA MAUBOY, SINGER
“My middle name is Hilda, after my grandmother. Nana was a soaring power. She was an Indigenous woman who fell in love with a white European man; it was a secret love because there was still segregation at the time. Being an Indigenous woman with a white fella, Nana struggled. But she stuck to her path. I think that’s where I get my fire from.
I was born on Dreamtime land and grew up in Darwin with my mum and four sisters in the suburb of Wulagi. I walked to school every day hand in hand with my sisters, and we’d swim in the local waterfall in the afternoons – minding the freshwater crocs. I feel like I was born cultural. I am Darwin, I am the Northern Territory, I am the saltwater, the freshwater and the desert.
I recently went back to Uluru in the Northern Territory, and digging my feet in the red dirt felt powerful. I was there just before they banned climbing it and removed the chain. Uluru has always felt really free to me, especially now the chains are gone. The same thing needs to happen with our constitution, we need to lift the barrier to move forward. For me, Indigenous constitutional recognition would mean freedom.”
This story originally appeared in the February issue of Marie Claire, out now.