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Koorie Youth Summit attracts large numbers from across Victoria

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by Jirra Lulla Harvey 21 May 2014

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ne of Victoria’s largest gatherings of young Indigenous men and women took place this month in Melbourne at the inaugural Koorie Youth Summit. More than 120 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people between 18 – 30 years old travelled from across Victoria to connect, inspire, express and empower. The summit has been in planning for over a year, and is the result of collaboration between the Koorie Youth Council and Kalinya Communications. State Coordinator of the KYC, Greg Kennedy, says the event is the first initiative of its kind, with hopes it will grow bigger and better in 2015. “I think we’ve tapped into

something that hasn’t happened in this state before, and I think we’ve created a real buzz. There are younger people coming through who are ready and excited to become involved,” he said. Workshops on social media, business, and global Indigenous rights to intergenerational sharing spaces, created a clever combination of the community’s young voices and their Elders’ wisdom. A keynote speech from Richard Frankland told the youth, “You carry the legacy of 1500 generations,” with encouragement to make lateral violence history. Speaking for his generation, 26-year-old Benson Saulo addressed the summit on its second day, urging delegates to be “disciplined non-conformists.” “Sometimes the system won’t

change for us, and it’s up to us to look for change outside of that system,” he said. Delegates had the chance to put words into action in powerful workshops targeting ICE and bettering our education system. An interactive panel of four young inspiring Koories showcased what Victoria’s youth are capable of achieving, from publishing novels and creating videos on suicide and ICE, to working on international campaigns against human trafficking. Delegates were moved by an unannounced, but welcome visit from a Navajoh of the Dineh Nation in Arizona, Paul Tohlakai, who told delegates their pain and struggle is shared with Indigenous peoples across the world. The first day ended with a celebration of youth achievement at the Ricci Marks Award Gala dinner,

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introduced by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, The Hon. Tim Bull, and featuring performances by Ellie Lovegrove and Benny Walker. The 2014 recipients of the Ricci Marks award, Will Austin and

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Lucy Rose Doolan, say the summit empowered them. “I’m very hopeful, our future is in good hands,” Ms Doolan said. Nayuka Gorrie, a global Indigenous rights and

environmental campaigner led the Creating Change workshop on the final day of the Summit and will be putting together a report on the summit that will be submitted to government.


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Koorie youth summit attracts large numbers from across victoria