When Senior Australian of the Year Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM received her award during the 2021 Australian of the Year ceremony, she shared an important message.
She reminded us that for 200 years Indigenous people of Australia have ‘adopted to a new way of living and ‘learned to walk in two worlds’. Now, she says it is time for everyone else ‘to come closer to understand us and to understand how we live and the needs in our community.’
‘We ask you also to learn and understand how we live and function in our community and what our needs are.’Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM
Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann AM helped us understand the importance of learning more about indigenous culture and explained the benefits everyone would gain from things like deep listening and staying still.
It made me reflect how appalling my own understanding is of the indigenous culture and so I started my day thinking I’m going to change that. I’m going to heed the sage words of Miriam-Rose and try my best to understand what it is like ‘to live in two worlds’.
Below are some steps you can take to understand more about our indigenous heritage, and it starts with listening more to our indigenous community – both young and old.
Tui Raven gives her perspective on growing up as an Aboriginal person in city and country Western Australia. In her talk, she shares anecdotes which touch on beauty, identity and language.
Here, Judy Atkinson talks about The Value of Deep Listening – The Aboriginal Gift to the Nation from her TEDx talk.
Here, brave Shelia Hancock shares her experience as a child of the stolen generation in her TEDx talk. “This story is not a pretty one” begins Sheila Humphries who, as a child, was taken from her parents and placed in an orphanage by authorities who thought they knew best. One voice of the stolen Generation, Sheila, with many other indigenous Australian children, suffered cruelty and neglect that has shaped her as an adult, for good and for ill. The effects are still writ large on Sheila’s life and it’s a part of Australian history we must never forget. Sheila will soon publish her autobiography, Silent Tears.
Her story is one of forgiveness.
Australian of the Year 2021 award winners
Isobel Marshall, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, Grace Tame, and Rosemary Kariuki
WINNERS OF THE 2021 AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS