Issue 18: First Nations

Page 1

First Nations Zine September 2022

UNSA would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians upon which this magazine was written, the Pambalong Clan of the Awabakal Nation. We would also like to extend this acknowledgement to the Birpai, Darkinjung and Gadigal peoples, as the traditional custodians of the lands upon which the University of Newcastle resides and UNSA operates. UNSA would like to pay respects to all Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge them as the true knowledge holders.

We acknowledge the historical inequalities faced by Aboriginal people and the continuing struggle for justice and equality. Black Lives Matter.

Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Junior Editor

Melanie Jenkins

This issue, as with all of our issues, is put together on the lands of the Pambalong Clan, of the Awabakal Nation. Sovereignty was never ceded and this land was never terra nullius.

Welcome back to another exciting zine!

What feels like home to you? Listening to birdsong in the trees

I hope you enjoy going through our First Nations zine as much as our team at Opus enjoyed putting it


Stephanie Jenkins

This land always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

If you feel inspired to contribute to our next magazine, or have a submission concept you would love to see come to life, sign up to be a contributor, or send us a message via our Instagram @opus.unsa.


I feel proud of what we have created here at Opus, but even prouder of the work that I know is yet to come. I hope that Opus can continue to grow, change, and develop into a magazine that all students can pick up, flip through, and see their names in print.

Every month, Opus works hard to amplify the voices of all students here at the University. That means that the learning never stops! This issue was a chance to prioritise work by and for First Nations students; to celebrate and bring awareness to the achievements of our fellow students and extend that respect to all Indigenous peoples across our country.


This month, we’ve dedicated Issue 18 to our Indigenous community and want to recognise that Opus, and the University of Newcastle, operate on stolen Aboriginal land.

Editor's Letters

What feels like home to you? Being in the arms of loved ones

Our First Nations zine is enriched with knowledge and content that not only celebrates our unique Australian culture, but also educates. We have a list of upcoming Indigenous artists to listen to, an inspiring story of raising an Aborignal foster daughter, and even an interview with Newcastle City’s first Indigenous woman councillor. We also have plenty of research, and stories of Indigenous legends retold. The passion continues with each and every page, and every single article submitted is well-worth the read.

4 Contents3 Editor's Letters 4 Contents 5 Contributors 6 Interview with Deahnna Richardson Ruby Walker 10 A Deadly Pursuit Matthew Craig 14 Raising an Aboriginal Child as a White Parent Laura Greaves 24 16 First Nations Artists Hannah Coles 20 First Nations People VS. the Australian Criminal Justice System Hannah Colesr 22 Conducting Research with Indigenous Australians Tegan Stettaford 24 The Cadiche man and the Bunjalung people Ivy-Rose Laidler 22 14 16

What feels like home to you?

Ruby Walker

Good music, good food, and good people.

Peace and quiet, my family, my dogs, and a cup of tea.

It's late morning, Dad’s about in the kitchen, Mum and I are sitting on the lounge watching something together, and dog is snuggling up for her morning pats.

Hannah Coles

Matthew Craig Cover Artist and Indigenous Collective Convenor

Sitting on the back deck at my parents house, surrounded by trees.

In the bush or by the water, with family and friends.

My parents house, immersed in nature and the sweet silence.

Ivy-Rose Laidler

For the cover art, I took inspiration from a sunrise I observed the other morning. I was just sitting there, reflecting on the beauty I had witnessed and listening to my daughters playing outside. Hearing their laughs and excitement was such a positive and inspirational experience.


Warm wafty breeze on a summer afternoon with a drink of apple cider and the smell of jasmine lingering in the air.


Tiana Williams Graphic Designer

Tegan Stettaford

Laura Greaves

D: I am a Wiradjuri woman which is red dust country, it's in the central west NSW. My bloodlines go back to Diana Mudgee, from the Mudgee area. I grew up on country, but in Peak Hill which is an hour drive south of Dubbo.

We moved to Newcastle when I was a teenager and some of my friends would think it was weird. For a while, I was paying my brother’s car loan because my dad didn’t have a car, and he was using my brother’s car to get to work. Often non-Aboriginal

R: What does “connection to country” mean to you?

R: Any places you would recommend visiting?


Words: Ruby Walker

D: I always say that a lot of culture isn’t just what you can see.Yes, it is food, art, language, and music which makes up culture, but it's also the behaviours, the way you interact with people and your value systems. So, I think my favourite part of culture is that hyper interdependence on family and your mob. Everything is shared. Whatever I have is anyone’s in my family, they are entitled to it, and they can borrow it and I expect them to.

Source: Newcastle Herald

Newcastle City's First WomanIndigenousCouncillor

D: Not to visit, but just to know about - Rocky Knob, which is part of the Hexham Swamp has just been listed as a place of Aboriginal significance. It’s one of the few undisturbed Aboriginal burial grounds and is significant to the Pambalong Clan of the Awabakal People. It’s a bit of a hill, and from the top you can

With RichardsonDeahnna

people struggled to understand why or how it was my problem – it wasn’t my loan, it wasn’t my car and it didn’t affect my job. But in our culture, a problem is shared, and because of that the resources to fix a problem are also shared. I think that’s what made our culture so resilient in the face of the adversity of the last 200 years. We’ve survived because it’s the things you can’t see - that can’t be taken away. From the outside looking in, people think it's bizarre, but ultimately it is knowing when times are tough there is someone to catch you. When I moved here there was that tension of being a teenager and wanting to fit in, but now I’m a parent it is so important and I’m so glad I have it. I see so many parents that are struggling and without help, because they have a belief that they don’t want to make their problems anyone else’s problems, but in my family that’s encouraged because we know that’s how you get through.

D: I don’t live on country anymore and I don’t realise how much I miss it until I go back. So, for me, connection to country is - it's that point when you get over the Great Dividing Range and its red dirt, and there is a really significant change in the landscape, and you feel that bit more relaxed and safer because it's familiar. I don’t know – it's being away from the stress of city life and being home. You’ve got your land and your mob, you catch up with everyone and feel really refreshed when you come back.

R: What is your favourite thing about your culture?

Securing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in Australia’s political scene is essential if we are to work towards cultural sensitivity, reparations, and reconciliation. Our contributor, Ruby, sat down with Newcastle City’s very first Indigenous Woman Councillor, Deahnna Richardson, to have a chat about what the role means for the future.

R: What clan do you belong to/ where are you from?

The purpose of the committee is to advise Council, and build that relationship between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community. And, I think that having aboriginal culture portrayed in a way that is respectful, visible, and centred is important otherwise


I went on to work for Greg Combet (Greg Combet held a federal seat and was Parliamentary Secretary for

of my journey, I feel like it's pure luck. I was preselected back in 2019 in an unwinnable position on a Labor ticket. Because the election was postponed so many times the lead candidate moved out of the area and the second candidate resigned, leaving me! So, I was endorsed as the candidate.

D: I work one day a week for my brother’s building company and I am also an elected Councillor at the city of Newcastle, I represent ward four which is from Wallsend to Beresfield, Black Hill and includes Hexham wetlands. All councillors get appointed to committees like internal advisory committees and some external. I sit on the Guraki Committee, Youth advisory council, the Traffic Committee and the Infrastructure advisory committee.

"It’s the fact that council is set up for an old demographic"whitefashionedmale

R: What has your journey been like as an indigenous woman entering into politics? D: I would have to say every day I battle impostor syndrome. Often I’m in a room and I feel like I’ve missed something. I want to make a point in my head and I think “this is a good point I need to say it.” Then I say it and think “that was dumb - now everyone knows your dumb thoughts.” That’s a challenge. Someone told me that when you’re not born into power or privilege, you always feel a little on the outer because that’s how power structures work. You don’t feel entitled to it. It’s important that you remember everyone needs to be represented

Defence Procurement in the First Rudd Ministry and then Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation in the Second Gillard Ministry). So I started working for him in 2010 and I really enjoyed it. At this time, the carbon price was being introduced, so I felt the work we were doing was really important. It was a privilege to be working so close to powerful people that making the big decisions.


I’ve been a member of the Labor party since I was 19, so 2008. Before that, I didn’t know that joining the party was something ordinary people could do. We were quite poor when we moved to Newcastle, and relied a lot on emergency assistance from charity. St. Vincent de Paul would come and do home visits when you’d apply for emergency assistance. The woman who did that was also secretary of the Stockton Labor branch which I didn’t know, until I saw her on a booth handing out flyers for the Labor party – this was in 2007 when Kevin Rudd was elected as Prime Minister. We got chatting and she mentioned I could join if I was interested, and be a part of young Labor as well. When I went to uni, I was involved with student politics on campus as well. I was a faculty rep on NUSA Council, and then Education Officer. I was running Hunter Young Labor and had just started the UoN Labor club at the time as well.

see up to Mount Sugarloaf, Black Hill Ridge, the Doghole at Stockrington and into town. It’s significant because it links into the song lines for the Awabakal people. It’s also the very first place in Newcastle to be protected as a site of Aboriginal significance.

R: What is your current role? What does it entail?

With the Guraki committee it might have external groups who come to give a presentation about a community project but don’t want to do that without the traditional owners, and we do have representatives from the Awabakal land council and Worimi land council on Guraki. Some of the council have big projects where they come back to the Guraki committee and throughout the project we provide advice. Like on excavation works being done, if there is signage with references to Aboriginal culture, we make sure it is appropriate.

In relation to signage, sometimes the feedback is that you can’t have a relationship with sign. Having sign that says “this used to be a gathering place” leaves the reader with the impression that that’s what use to be, not anymore, and that’s not the case. That connection to country is ongoing.

of motivation, I think the fact that I am the first Aboriginal woman elected to City of Newcastle means I feel like I have the obligation to make a difference as much as I can. And that means battling imposter syndrome. Making a point about certain things because no one else is making it. When you’re in it you feel the structural disadvantage so much more, it’s the fact that council is set up for an old fashioned white male demographic. So having little kids and juggling council is really hard but it's also a motivating factor because if it's hard for me with a supportive family and accommodating boss (my brother) imagine what it’s like for other people. You can’t be it unless you see it. If I can make my presence known then at the very least, maybe others will think being a Councillor is something they could do too.

8 its completely silenced. For me, I want to make sure it's visible because so often I hear conversations where someone has been to London and they’re like “it has so much history and culture”. We have so much culture here, more actually. You don’t have to go to the other side of the world to experience culture. We’ve grown up to think that western culture is so much more sophisticated and better. There are still people that don’t value Aboriginal culture like they should.

D: At City of Newcastle, couple months ago we moved a motion to support the Voice to Parliament campaign. This campaign comes from the Uluru Statement From the Heart, which was a historic consensus between Indigenous Australians right across Australia from different areas. I think because it was so outrightly dismissed by the Government of the day it was just forgotten about. It was deliberately misrepresented by the Government and parts of the media, and so it was dismissed and mischaracterised we’ve been on the back foot since then to correct that Wenarrative.areat

R: Do you have any indigenous role models or people in your life that have influenced or inspired you? D: I’d have to say my mum because she’s just a survivor. She just seems to find ways and means of getting where she wants and getting the outcomes she wants. That’s an inspiration. In terms of other people more well known, Nova Peris, She was the first female Indigenous Federal Parliamentarian. She was elected when Julia Gillard was PM. Prior to that she was an Olympic hockey player, a single mum

a point where we have a favourable Government, committed to holding a referendum in the first term. The challenge is that we still have to settle on a question, and educate the public about what it means and why it’s important. If we had a voice to parliament that was enshrined in the constitution, then it would mean that first nation peoples could be unapologetic in our advocacy. At the moment we’ve had various incarnations of aboriginal advisory groups but as soon as it’s perceived by the Government as too mouthy, they get defunded and resources taken away. If it was

Tara June Winch is another inspiration. She’s an author, didn’t quite finish school, was a young single mum just getting by. She was writing stories and ended up winning an award and money and went to university from there. I think she won the Miles Franklin award recently for the Yield. If you haven’t read it, read it, it’s a really good book. But yeah, someone that’s had children young and still going on to have a successful career and making an impact as well. She’s obviously super talented and using her talents to talk about Aboriginal stories and going through that healing process which is inspiring.


and from the NT. To come into that political sphere, not being born into politics is so inspiring. She had her daughter really young and then went on to be an Olympian! If Nova Peris can have kids, then go on to be an Olympian, then what am I complaining about.

R: What are your motivations and aspirations for your political career

D: I don’t really have any aspirations. What I have is all very short term. The reason for that is because as I said, I feel like I’m here out of sheer luck and so I’ve got 2 years to get things done. And I haven’t really thought beyond that. Everything is so uncertain in

R: What is an issue within the indigenous community that you feel needs more attention? How can people support this?

matters. Even if you think someone else can say it better, smarter, whatever - probably not. You will get better with practice.

R: Where would you direct people to go to become more educated about issues and history relating indigenous people?

D: I’ve already talked about Tara June Winch, an awesome author. Scan the QR to read about her.

To support the campaign, there is a website. You can read about it and sign up for updates. At the moment, the organisation is really just two people running a national campaign for five years. It’s a ‘watch this space’ really at the moment.

R: Do you have an Indigenous brand, artist, or organisation you want to shout out?

enshrined in the constitution, then it means we don’t have to make advocacy palatable and that’s really important because those structural issues are a result of not having that voice and avenue for consultation. Basically, what this would look like is a advisory body that wouldn’t have veto powers but would be there so that any piece of legislation that would have an impact on first nations people would be referred for comments and advice before it goes back to parliament. That’s my understanding of it. The government would be accountable through the media and it would be made obvious if advice was being ignored or overridden as its all in the public sphere.

D:Representation matters, even if you think you sound dumb its probably still important to make the point because you could be the only one to make it. Everyone has a unique perspective and your story

D: Speak to the elders, they’re the knowledge holders. There is also work being done by professor John Maynard who is doing a lot of work to regain that knowledge and stories that have been lost. There is a documentary screen as part of NAIDOC week called Biraban and Threlkeld. Threlkeld was a missionary and Biraban an Awabakal man. It's about how they created that dialogue between first nations people and white people. It's available for free on Stories of Our Town. It's done by a local production company and John Maynard features in it too.

There’s this company called Magpie Goose I originally found on Instagram and they do slow

R: Do you have any advice you would like to share?

In 2002, the YR12 or equivalent completion rate was 19%, compared to 34% in 2018/19.

However, it wasn’t just the content of the conversations that was inspiring; it was the genuine, caring nature in which these conversations took place. In my opinion, these interactions are pivotal in the reduction of imposter syndrome.

We all come from diverse backgrounds; many of us are first from family to finish school or, like me, never finished high school but found an alternate pathway to higher education.


with representatives. One concern that particularly stuck out to me was the reiteration from our representatives that there is more than one pathway to University.


Words: Matthew Craig due to financial limitations 1:6 due to personal or family reasons


Getting mob signed up to university is one challenge, but how can the university consistently enable our ongoing success?

2002 Year 12 or completionequivalentrate 2018/19 Year 12 or equivalent completion rate

A Deadly Pursuit Indigenous Higher Education

To this day, imposter syndrome hits me like a dagger to the heart whenever I walk onto campus. You feel alone; no one in your family has been here before, and you’re not sure what to expect. The self-doubt overwhelms you, and you feel out of place, unsure of where to go. To this day, I still fear I will say something stupid in class or fail a unit, and all the time and money put into this educational pursuit would be a waste. This is an ongoing struggle, one we know is not isolated; it is shared amongst many of the Indigenous Collective members, and across the entire higher education system. We are fortunate to have a university that recognises this ongoing struggle and provides various support through institutions like Wollotuka and other measures I will discuss shortly.

After ‘breaking the mould’ myself, I have become immensely passionate about enabling other Indigenous students to pursue higher education. Specifically, helping others to break the mould themselves. One of the most inspiring sights I have observed within this sphere was the Wollotuka High School Emerging Day. This event, held at Ourimbah Campus, not only showcased the university to local Indigenous high school students, but also enabled these students to discuss their concerns


I will reflect and share with you my own experience. As I mentioned in the introduction, to this day I still feel like an imposter; like university is ‘not for me’; like every report I submit will not speak the right ‘academic’ language; or that, as a high school drop out, some of the basic grammar

what I think is great about this package is that the final phase affords staff the opportunity of an On Country experience. Additionally, the university launched its Reconciliation Action Plan in July. This plan contains over 120 actions for leaders across the university.

Over 50% of staff have already completed this

What are we studying?

or equations will be wrong. However, whenever I pop into the Ourimbah campus library and head upstairs to Wollotuka, I am always greeted with an inviting smile. When Aunty Bronwyn is around, she is always good for a yarn, asks me how my daughters are going, and if I need any help. The yarning sessions coordinated by our University’s Indigenous Scholar, Dr Stacey McMullen, provide a platform to discuss the unique challenges university life presents; things that our family, having not experienced university, wouldn’t understand. These little things, ongoing connectedness, and what I consider a sense of community, really prop me up. I feel re-energised and ready to continue on with my journey.




Behind the scenes, the university seems to understand this is an ongoing struggle and has committed to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Research Framework. Through Nathan Towneys’ Indigenous Strategy and Leadership division, a Cultural Capability Framework has been developed and a three-phased training package compliments this framework: A package that all staff must complete by 2025.


So, what is our university doing with us once we obtain our deadly qualification? An Indigenous Employment Strategy and Action Plan has been established, and the university is working with external stakeholders to develop a traineeship

CURRENTLY THERE ARE FIFTY-TWO INDIGENOUS PHD STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY 20.6% Enabling 19.7% EnvironmentEngineering,Scienceand 20.9% WellbeingMedicineHealth,and 38.8% Human and Social Futures

all the good work underway, it’s an ongoing challenge; as mentioned earlier, I still feel like I don’t belong. Little things like displaying our artwork in the classrooms, labs, or lecture theatres would be reassuring. Better yet, take the lecture outside; we have some great environments that would be conducive to an outdoor lecture!

The university has an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion working group established, which I am fortunate to sit on and contribute to. An inclusive forum where ideas like these could manifest into positive and inspiring change.

completionEducationHigher rate: 2001 = 38:10,000 versus 2018 = A67:10,000.68%increase!

This has been written with reference to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: National Indigenous Australians Agency, and personal communication with N. Towney on August 3, 2022.

It is reassuring to see such a growing interest from mob in pursuing a higher education. As a passionate advocate for supporting mob obtain higher education, the emerging student’s day was such an inspiring and reassuring event. Our university is enacting a strategic plan that will help support our current and future Indigenous students throughout their academic journey. It is a dynamic work in progress, and there is a lot of work still to be done. However, I have confidence that as more mob pursue and are supported through the higher education system, we will have an increased opportunity to make long-lasting change and set a new mould to make it progressively easier for each new generation taking on this deadly pursuit.


I am infected with all the common strains of Mum Guilt. You name it, I’ve tortured myself about it.


Understandably, the very idea of an Indigenous child being removed from her family of origin and placed with a white family is one wrapped up in generations of pain and trauma. For Sophie’s privacy I can’t share the circumstances that led to her joining our family, but I can say that every possible effort was made to place her with other birth family members before it was decided she would stay with us, in what is known

these things are great, they obviously don’t change the fact that Sophie is Indigenous Australian and the family she lives with is not. They won’t

Raising Aboriginalan Child as a White Parent

as a non-culturally appropriate placement. Her social workers also worked hard to try and find a culturally appropriate placement for her, but sadly there is a critical shortage of Aboriginal foster carers across AllAustralia.FirstNations

There was one guilt variant I didn’t anticipate, though: Not Being an Indigenous Australian. I never expected to contract this particular type of guilt because, as a white woman with a white partner and a loooong ancestral history of other white people, I never expected to have an Indigenous Australian Thatchild.changed

in June 2021, when Sophie* arrived. My husband and I are foster parents, and one-year-old Sophie was placed with us under a temporary care order. Within a few months, however, it became clear that she would be staying with us for the long term — eventually, we hope, permanently.

Sophie has fair skin, pale blue eyes, and whiteblonde hair. She is also Aboriginal.

children in out-of-home care have what’s known as a ‘cultural plan’ developed by their social workers on their behalf. Sophie’s plan contains a vast amount of detail and family history research about her Aboriginal heritage, including photographs, copies of her relatives’ 100-year-old birth certificates, geographical information about her country in western NSW, and even a mini dictionary of words in the language spoken in her community. It is a wonderful resource and one I’ve tried to complement with research of my own. I took a deep dive into the programs and services available in my local area and was able to put together a list of playgroups, online clubs, and other activities that Sophie, who’s now almost three, can participate in.

I also spoke to staff at my eight-year-old daughter’s school, which Sophie will attend if she’s still living with us when the time comes for her to start, to find out how they will help maintain Sophie’s connection to her heritage. We are fortunate that, living where we do, she will have many Indigenous peers at school and lots of opportunities to explore and celebrate her Whileculture.all

Letting the Kids Watch Too Much TV Guilt. Always Forgetting to Bring Healthy Snacks to the Park Guilt. Dropping F-bombs in Front of the Children Guilt. All the guilt, all the time.

Words: Laura Greaves (PhD (English) candidate, HCISS)

Laura with her Daughter

results from a child being unable to live with their birth family could ever hope to be perfect — but she is ultimately fortunate to have not one but two families that love her to pieces and will do anything for her.

important part of her identity honoured, nurtured, and developed by everyone lucky enough to be in her life. But is that enough? Can white parents ever be enough for a First Nations child? Can any parent hope to be enough for a young person whose cultural background is not only different from their own, but whose forebears actually caused the pain and suffering that young person’s community endured


*Name has been changed.

Tell me more: Budjerah blessed our screens on The Voice in 2019, where he was absolutely ROBBED with no chair turns (I still haven’t recovered from this). However, it wasn’t long until he teamed with one of Australia’s leading artists and producers, Matt Corby.

My fav songs: His first single release, Missing You, is such a smooth, silky, groovy song – One of those songs that you can listen to over and over and over and never get sick of. And if you think this song couldn’t get better, the live version feat. Matt Corby really challenges that, as it shows their insane vocals (the number

Budjerah (pronounced bu-j-erah)

Who are they: Budjerah is a Coodjinburra man from the Bundalung community, tearing up the Aussie music scene with his singing and songwriting abilities. He says that his music is heavily influenced by his upbringing in the church where he would live and breathe music. He is a perfect mix between soul, RnB, indie, and pop – and definitely someone to watch.

Baker Boy


Together, they created his debut self-titled EP, as well as live versions of all four of his favourite songs from the album, which feature the likes of Matt Corby himself, Ngaiire, Ainslie Wills, and JK-47. He also has some tracks with Ed Sheeran and Lil Baby, which is pretty cool for a young, up-and-coming Aussie artist.

My fav songs: I love Better Days which features Dallas Woods and Sampa the Great. It is such a cool track with a smooth groove, that you are guaranteed to bop your head to. One of his most wellknown songs, Cool as Hell, is also popular for a reason: it slaps.

of times my sister and I have just replayed the last bit of the song where they just run over everyone is

Australia is filled with deadly First Nations singer-songwriters. Here are just a few of my favourites.

Who are they: In his own words, Baker Boy is a “proud black Yolngu boy with the killer flow,” and he is not wrong. He is one of Australia’s most prominent rappers, who rose to fame after winning Triple J’s Unearthed National Indigenous Music Awards in 2017 for his singles Cloud 9 and Marryuna (both of which were featured in Triple Js Hottest 100 of 2017).

First Nations Artists

Tell me more: This rapper, dancer, and actor is now a household name, with his songs making their way to numerous Aussie playlists. Baker Boy made his acting debut

in The True History of the Kelly Gang which is so so so so good –one of my all-time favourite films (you can now watch it on Stan).

Conversations, released in 2022, the gorgeous song Wash My Sorrows Away is like a warm hug from the soul gods. What Should I Do is another favourite of mine –it’s just so god-damn groovy, and stanky, and perfect, from the vocals right down to the tambourine and bridge break down.

Words: Hannah Coles

Miiesha (pronounced My-ee-sha)

Who are they: Miiesha is an Australian singer-songwriter from the Woorabinda community and is a strong Anangu / Torres Strait Islander woman. Her powerful lyrics and vocals use every letter, every breath, to tell a unique story. Her music is heavily influenced by her community and culture.

the acting world, with her most renowned role in The Sapphires, which she also received some awards for!

Tell me more: her debut EP Nyaaringu (meaning “what happened” in Pitjantjatjara language) explores the themes of her life in such a raw, emotional, and real way. Her late grandmother’s words are embedded and woven throughout the EP, symbolic of Indigenous Elders passing down their knowledge to younger generations. Miiesha is a recipient of numerous awards; one of her

Jessica Mauboy

My fav song: Obviously her classic dance, pop tunes like Pop a Bottle (Fill Me Up) and Burn really do hit the spot, and take me back to dancing around and performing my sold-out show in my bedroom. Her new songs Automatic and Glow are also both so cool! I love how different they are for her –taking a more modern, pseudo70s, techno, dance vibe, that still showcases her deadly vocals. Glow has been one of my onrepeat songs that puts me in such a good mood every time and gets me grooving.

My fav songs: from Nyaaringu, I love how Black Privilege is so different and challenging, whilst being so smooth and beautiful. She packs in some crunchy chords which just pull at your soul. Twisting Words is a stanky band song with crispy vocals and sexy guitar solos. From her 2021 EP Smoke, Damaged is such a cool and smooth bop, and won Miiesha Song of the Year at the National Indigenous Music Awards. I love how you can both rock out to this song and have a sad, cool person cry to it.

Who are they: A household legend and Australian icon, Jessica Mauboy has many classic pop hits (which honestly are so good) and many may know her as a judge on The Voice. BUT, now she is taking a shift into heavy bass dance tunes, and I am very here for it.

Tell me more: Mauboy first came to Australia’s attention in 2006 when she competed on Australian Idol, where she was robbed of the top spot but received an honourable second place. Throughout her career, Mauboy has received numerous awards and performed all over the world, even representing Australia at Eurovision with her song We Got Love. She has also dabbled in

most notorious, her ARIA in 2020 for Best Soul/RnB Release for this EP!

Thelma Plum

Who are they: Thelma Plum is a Gamilaray woman from Delungra, New South Wales. Her classic, cool, indie, Australian sounds showcase some powerful themes and gorgeously unique vocals.

Tell me more: Her music touches on what it is like to be an Aboriginal woman in Australia. Her single Better in Blak highlights her struggles with her culture and heritage, and the love and pain that she has felt from it. This influential and monumental song reached number nine in Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2019, making her the highest ranked Indigenous artist at that time. Whether you enjoy her music or not, I can guarantee this song will get you screaming some much-needed profanities to the world.

My fav songs: Clumsy Love, one of her most popular songs, is scientifically proven to get you up and dancing with its strong pop influence and rocking band drive. Her most recent release, When it Rains it Pours, is a song you put on to stare out the car window, or whilst you’re making dinner with a glass of red in your hand. Don’t Let a Good Girl Down is the sweetest ‘screw you’ the world has ever heard. I dig the vibe, between the harsh lyrics and the cheeky little whistles – I love it!

Feel free to listen along to this article by scanning the QR code!

You can listen to these awesome artists and more First Nations musicians on Triple J’s weekly show Blak Out, on Sundays from 5pm to 6pm; where for a whole hour it is exclusively Aussie Indigenous artists.

F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , y o u c a n c o n t a c t t h e W o l l o t u k a I n s t i t u t e a t :

The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle puts in the hard yards to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have access to the support that they may need. maintain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and ‘ways of doing’.

Academic and financial support

19T h e W o l l o t u k a I n s t i t u t e

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Words: Hannah Coles


Often, I find myself viewing Australia through my rose-coloured glasses – it’s pretty bloody good. Yeah, we have our issues but what country doesn’t? It's a nice place to sit, boosted and protected by my white privilege, to the reality of Australia and its cultural biases towards First Nations peoples. The maltreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, both as victims and offenders, within our criminal justice system has been a topic of great debate for centuries, with their involvement in the system rising at alarming rates compared to nonIndigenous peoples. As outlined in the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, the First Nations populations are grossly overrepresented within our criminal justice system, making up nearly 30% of the prison population (when they only account for approximately 2% of Australia’s population) and being 12.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous. Additionally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait children are a whopping 26 times more likely to be incarcerated compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts – not just because their communities are overpoliced, or they have limited opportunities and education, or an increased stigma against them, but an amalgamation of these factors.

Ash Dahlstrome from the Gamilaraay and Ngarabal people wrote an awesome article for The Guardian detailing the effects of some of these factors, and how they impact First Nations people and their involvement within the criminal justice system. Evidently, increased police patrol can be extremely beneficial for deterring crime, making delinquency ‘not worth the risk’ of being caught by the cops (I know it would work for me). However, over policing in First Nations communities can exacerbate the stigma and misconception that First Nations people are more prone to ‘being criminal’. There is an evident distrust between police officers and First Nations peoples, and vice versa, that continues and is continued by the over policing of these communities. As a judicial system, we need to understand that crime does not discriminate against gender, race, or ethnicity – it can be prevalent within all communities. However, the stigma society holds against First Nations peoples intensely vilifies and demonises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander criminals to a far greater extent than others. This perpetual and deep-rooted stigma has lined the walls of Australia since colonisation, where the dispossession of First Nations people from their land without compensation, treaty, or any sort of agreement was (and is) not viewed as a crime, but rather ignored in our history. Poor economic position, health status, housing, and education are current

"First Nations populations grossly overrepresented our criminal justice system, making up nearly 30% prison population"

First Nations People VS. the SystemCriminalAustralianJustice


examples of the everlasting effects and impacts on First Nations people that can lead to an increased risk of being involved in crime.

Additionally, with the Australian criminal justice system favouring imprisonment over rehabilitation, these criminogenic factors are never addressed, thus perpetuating the cyclic nature of First Nations people within the system. We currently have the highest imprisonment rate in the past century, despite a significant reduction in overall crime. Yes, you read that right – an increase in imprisonment rates but a decrease in crime, now how does that work?! Well, it means that our criminal “justice” system is placing emphasis on incarceration over rehabilitation, education, or counselling. Imprisonment does not address the complex mental issues or social inequities that can lead individuals to acts of criminality – factors prevalent in many First Nations criminals. With a shift to circle sentencing, community corrections orders, and healing programmes, the generational involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders within the Australian criminal justice system can begin to be addressed and minimised. Additionally, justice reinvestment is an approach that focuses on moving a portion of local community funds away from imprisonment, and onto programs and services

And yes, I’m sure it’s not as easy as simply implementing such strategies… but why can’t it be? Why have we waited so long to include First Nations people in an Australian treaty? Why have we waited so long to include them in our parliament, when this government is supposed to care for everybody equally? I think movement and change will come with increased education and awareness of the inequities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders face. This can only happen if we continue to have conversations –to open the floor to First Nations people and LISTEN! So, what do you say – should we continue to sit on our hands and do nothing? Or can we continue this conversation and clear the way for Indigenous people to speak up and create change in this bloody great nation of ours? #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe

populations are overrepresentedsystem,withinofthe

addressing these underlying causes of criminality within the community. In some states in America and Europe this criminal justice approach has had significant impacts on creating safer environments and communities, and decreasing crime rates.

of this collaboration, often referred to as ‘co-development’, which has been of great interest to me is the uniquity of adaption that has come about to support and be inclusive for Indigenous clients of the services we are working with. We, as the research team, acknowledged the importance of including this group in the project due to their high rates of engagement with lifestyle factors as reported in existing research. Through initial co-development with LHDs, we realised some services see high numbers of Indigenous clients, and we would need to adapt our approach accordingly to ensure we appropriately reached this group to prompt their

Words: Tegan Stettaford

As a PhD candidate, my life is immersed in research; something I came to love throughout my undergraduate degree. Further, as a researcher in the field of psychology I am lucky enough to work in a space that involves people, both as our collaborators and participants. The connections and skills that I’ve developed through this work have been immeasurable already, at only one and half years into my candidature, and I am immensely grateful to know that there is more to come in the remainder of my


Conducting Research with AustraliansIndigenous

attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.


An Outsider's Perspective

condition. We are testing a new approach to do this in our real-world trial. The six intervention sites have employed a new clinician role with the sole purpose of seeing clients for an appointment about their physical health–in particular, their lifestyle factors (tobacco smoking, poor nutrition, alcohol overconsumption, physical inactivity, and weight)–which have been linked to poorer health outcomes, including an increased risk of chronic diseases. In order to ensure this intervention suits services and their clients, extensive consultation was sought before commencement from staff and clients, and is continuing on throughout the project in various

context, the following is a brief overview of my PhD Research.


Data for my PhD is being collected primarily from a large cluster-RCT (randomised control trial) with twelve community mental health services (six intervention; six control), across three Local Health Districts (LHDs) within NSW. Our broad aim within this research is to improve the physical health inequity experienced by people living with a mental health

Ongoing adaption: Real world research can be quite unpredictable and often involves on-the-go adaptions and amendments as things change in the real world. Covid, unsurprisingly, has had a major impact on the project; for example, in terms of commencement, recruitment, availability, and data collection. Similarly, there have been adaptions and considerations to accommodate changes for the Indigenous communities that seek support from these services, such as times of mourning and impacts of natural disasters, like flooding.

peer workers, and clients where possible, as well as consideration of existing materials for inspiration.

participation. The below describes some of the steps we took as a research team to do this:

Resource development: As part of this project, we have developed numerous resources to support both clinicians and clients in the integration and uptake of these additional appointments. For clients, resources have included waiting room posters and flyers, brochures providing information about the lifestyle factors, a diary, and recipe book. However, we understood that the resources the team had developed for clients may not be suitable or engaging for Indigenous Australians. Thus, we set out to create more appropriate resources for these clients. This involved a process of immense consultation with staff,

As a non-Indigenous Australian, this has been an incredibly valuable process for me, and one which I feel has furthered my personal growth and understanding, and developed me as a researcher. I look forward to seeing the impact that this research has in the coming years.

Co-development meetings: Before we rolled out the research in each of the 3 LHDs, we conducted a series of co-development meetings to better understand the services we were working with. Group members included research team representatives, service managers, clinician champions and clients, and Indigenous voices where possible. During these meetings we were able to understand service structure, processes, and clients seen. It was during these meetings we became aware of services in which Indigenous client numbers were high, providing us with important context for how we present this initiative.

Then came the next day: it was court day for the person he had spoken to on the phone. Getting his baxters shoes on, and tie, Mansell was ready for the day. At precisely 9 o’clock, a tall, thin, Indigenous dude, “probably wearing one of the best suits I’d ever seen, and handmade moccasins–around 500, 600 worth of shoes back then. I took him into the office and asked him about his travels and he produced to me some documentation that proved that this case wasn’t his problem–wasn’t down to him.”

Now, onto the stories. Let’s take it back to the 90s; my father had finished his law degree, gotten out of working in the court system, and had started working out at Maclean. Most days he would go to the Maclean courthouse and pass half a dozen Indigenous fellas sitting under the mango tree that sat out front of the court.

Mansell said, “I’ll show the prosecutors, and that’ll be So,good.”offthese gentlemen went to court. Mansell starts to walk past the usual mango tree and thinks, fuck, that’s unusual, as he notices none of the usual Indigenous fellas are near the mango tree. But he can’t think about it too much, he’s got a case to deal with! After showing the documentation, the charges were then withdrawn.

“We walked out of the court together and I said to him, I’ll get ya a cup of coffee.”

There was a stall of Salvo ladies who sold coffee and cakes, so he turned his back and got the coffee, but when he turned around, the man wasn’t there.

(Pronunciation: Ga-die-chi)*

that’s a far fucking step from Kempsey to bloody Maclean”.

The Cadiche man and the Bunjalung people

“G’day,” he would wave, and continue into the courthouse for his work.

In plain terms, that means the charges should no longer be a worry for this man.

“He was gone. I was no more than 5 yards away from

“I said to him, ‘where are you today? The matter’s on tomorrow.’ He responded that he was at Kempsey, and I told him, ‘Mate you better get on a train or bus,


Mansell thought that it was a bit weird, but said “just as long as you get here and have all your dollars and cents.” And with that, the phone call ended.

One day, sitting in his office, he gets a phone call. “Hello, this is Mansell Laidler,” he speaks into the old landline phone (man, remember those?).

Let me start off by saying, these stories are either first hand recounts or stories that have been told to others. My father’s family may or may not be of Indigenous descent, through my grandmother who had “Spanish eyes”: a cover up term from the 30s for being of Indigenous descent. We’re still unsure, but we hope to find out soon.

This man seemed odd–very odd–as he said, “it’ll be alright, I’ll walk,” in a very calm, matter of fact tone.

Words: Ivy-Rose Laidler

On the other end, a voice responds and tells him he has a “matter charged by police with respect to his manner of driving a motor vehicle,” and needs legal Mansell’srepresentation.Recount:

Mind you, this is a man who weighs about 100 kilos, is bald, big and has a business suit on. He looks tough, you know? But these men out the front would still talk to my dad. He got to know them.

“The cadiche man?” Mansell repeated. “Why? What will he do?” he asked this fella. Going through his head: is he going to track these guys down and kill them? Have I got a potential murder happening

“The next morning, I became aware that there was a motor vehicle accident in the Aboriginal settlement in Yamba, that three young Aboriginal men had died. In strange circumstances, in that it was single vehicle accident, where there was little vehicular traffic at any time. Ran off road, no reason for their car to end up where it did. Speed wasn’t an issue, nothing seemed to be. I found it odd and unsettling.”

“On my readings of things, they appeared to be assassins, and they would pin prick their feet, so they would bleed and put downy feathers on their feet. Which explained the feathery feet. I was more than a little bit disconcerted by that.”

Mansell, the non-indigenous man that he is, said, “what the bloody hell is the cadiche man?”

“Suit and everything?” Mansell questioned further. “You have no idea Manse, he walks on feathery foot**, walks that far above the ground,” gesturing around 15cm above the ground. Then the fella said something even more odd: “if he points at you, Black fellas will die.”

“Didsoon?he say anything to you that struck you as odd?” they Thenasked.something clicked… “I said, well yeah, he said that he was going to walk here.”

“Well, he would of, they all on feathery feet,” answered the fella, using his palms face down to show the movement: kind of flat hands, but shaking. That was the feathery foot. Mansell recalled thinking, what in the world? Maybe in more

Mansell recalls the conversation as kind of surreal, and really interesting.

Mansell, thinking that this couldn’t be true, went home and didn’t think much of it.


him. I walked around the corner to the mango tree; I didn’t even hear his shoes on the pavement. He was Mansell,gone.” clearly shocked and a bit confused, didn’t know what to think.

He remembered seeing they were also called witch doctors, who held a bone*** which, when pointed at people, became a death sentence… that concerned him even more.

One of the folks responded, “we didn’t want to come down, the cadiche man was here.”

And that was it. The cadiche man was no more… so Mansell thought. Some years later, he was at a pub, walking up to the door, when he heard a voice behind him say, “I knew you would be here.”

He remembered the voice, turning around to see none

profanities, but you get the drift. This was weird, really weird.

The next thing this man said started to scare him: “he’s a bad bloke, Black fellas will die tonight, if he’s Damn,town.”that even gives me chills hearing this for the thousandth time.

So, Mansell did the next rational thing, and looked up what the cadiche man was.

“I saw some Aboriginal folk coming towards the mango tree.” He started up some conversation, still confused why there was no one there when he walked past earlier and asked, “there was no one here today?”

***Common in the beliefs of the Bunjalung people and concerning the Cadiche man, bone pointing is a bad omen. Within a week, someone who has been pointed with a bone is said to die. It is a very powerful sentence.

other than the mysteriously disappearing man known as the cadiche man, standing behind him. Keep in mind that my father, outside of work without his suit and tie on, looks like a completely different person. Sometimes he does have to re-introduce himself because he just looks so casual, and so not-court“G’daylike. mate, how-ya-going?” Mansell recalls talking to him, and asking him how he was going, to which he responded well. He didn’t question him much on the past and just asked him, “Come on, I’ll buy you a beer?” He starts to walk towards the bar, turning his back once again to the cadiche man. He quickly turned around because he wanted to check the beer the man liked and, just like that, Mansell snapped his fingers and “he was gone. I looked for him, but he was completely gone.” And now, that was truly it. The end of the cadiche

*Alsoman. known as the kuradaitcha, gadaidja, kadaitcha, karadji, or kaditcha, the cadiche man is seen as a witch doctor, Shaman, or assassin figure within Indigenous Australian communities. The pronunciation “ga-die-chi” comes from the pronunciation of the Bunjalung people in the 1990s.


shoes in the Australian Aboriginal Studies journal of the Australian Institute of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 2005.

**Feathery foot can mean one of two things in Indigenous Australian culture. Some believe that it describes the process of pin-pricking one's feet with a tiny needle and sticking downy feathers to the skin. For others, feathery foot might refer to a sandal-like shoe, made from emu feathers and animal skin, which leave no track. There is some evidence of these


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