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 real change, not mere symbolism. It’s time Indigenous people are acknowledged as our First People and have their voice enshrined in the constitution.
This month, marie claire joins forces with some of Australia’s biggest and brightest names to unite for change. Here, three women open up about how the issue has impacted them…
RAE JOHNSTON, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDITOR AT NITV
“When I became a single mum as a teenager, I was told that I was throwing my life away. I was determined to be the best mum I could be and a good role model for my son Seth [now 18]. As part of that, I’ve taught him the importance of protest and questioning authority, as well as our Wiradjuri language, which is something that my grandfather passed on to me. I want my son to know you’ve got to be heard; you’ve got to be loud. I’m a big fan of the phrase, ‘Nothing about us, without us,’ and that’s what constitutional recognition is. It’s about all First Nations people being heard. I hope my son gets to live his adult life in a country where there’s a treaty.”
DIXIE CRAWFORD, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT SOURCE NATION
“I am a Barkindji woman and have been truly privileged to be born and grow up on my ancestral land. My grandmother once said, ‘The past ain’t for livin’ but sure makes for good thinkin’.’ To create change,
we need to start having tougher conversations that incite responsibility and robust, transparent leadership. These conversations start in workplace trainings, in sporting clubs, on coffee breaks. This is the work we do at Source Nation, a consultancy organisation challenging the status quo. We all have the ability to be an advocate and initiate change in our workplace and community, the question comes down to: are you willing to put your hand up and be the voice for the voiceless?”
YATU WIDDERS HUNT, DIRECTOR AT INDIGENOUS SOCIAL CHANGE AGENCY COX INALL RIDGEWAY
Photography by Hugh Stewart.
This story originally appeared in the February issue of marie claire, out now.