Always Was. Always Will Be – A time for reflection.
My name is AJ.
I am writing about what this years’ NAIDOC theme:– ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ means to me.
I am a Wiradjuri / Wotjobulak Aboriginal man.
My family hails from Dimboola in Victoria, and Wellington in NSW.
I am a father, a husband and a brother.
I am a trained Nurse, Youth Worker, Story-teller and Social Worker.
I am also an individual that has living experience of an eating disorder.
From the ages of 14 to 18, I struggled with bulimia.
It ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE part of me and my story.
I am a survivor. I am a warrior and I am a fighter.
I ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE.
I have never let anything define me.
I don’t like labels. I don’t like playing games.
I stand up for what I believe in.
I was bullied as a kid – and often had my voice denied
I could not control the things around me – but I could control what I did to myself
It ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE part of me and my story
NAIDOC is a time for reflection.
It is a celebration of culture.
Every year there is a theme
– and the theme is about something that Aboriginal people celebrate, but also what we want non-Indigenous people to know, learn & grow about
It is a cry out of some injustice that still needs to be recognised.
Always Was, Always Will Be acknowledges this nation, the one that we now call Australia began 65 thousand years ago, and spans through the numerous generations of my Indigenous family tree.
Aboriginality runs through my blood.
It runs through family, and it runs through my kids and future grandkids.
It ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE part of my story.
NAIDOC to me is about recognising that Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people
were many of Australia’s first.
The first to explore these lands,
The first to navigate the waters,
The first to create and design artworks
The first traditional leaders, doctors, nurses & teachers
The world was a safe place.
All of the firsts were gone – when the ships arrived.
Our land was taken and the Indigenous world was shaken
I see my time with bulimia, when my one personal world was rocked
As I say, I am a survivor.
I am the first of many.
I am the first in my family to complete Year 12.
The first in my family to go to university
The first to complete my degree & a number of post grad courses
The first to also break the many cycles that my family are still involved.
This is what this year’s theme means to me
ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE