Little voices, loud futures
by Skye Stewart
Each time one of my kids says or does something where their identity and culture shine through, I feel proud and strong. Sometimes I see it in my eldest child when he incorporates Wergaia language into his music. Sometimes I see it in my youngest when they do an acknowledgement to Country at school. Sometimes it is just seeing them being so at peace when we go out on Country.
Every time I get asked something like
“Mum, I am a warrior and a healer aren’t I?”
“Mum, what is the word for moon in language again?”
“Mum, are we going out on Country this weekend?” I know I am doing the right thing in strengthening my children’s identity and therefore their sense of belonging and connection to the world. Like many mob, we stand on the shoulders of parents, grandparents and ancestors to guide us.
August 4 is National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Childrens day and was historically used to communally celebrate the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were forcibly removed from their families in the Stolen Generation, most of them not knowing their birthday.
Today, we have this day to celebrate all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids. This year’s theme is ‘little voices, loud futures’. For me, ‘little voices, loud futures’ means creating a nurturing, supportive environment for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to be safe, happy and well. It means acknowledging culture as a protective factor and our kids have a right to live and access their culture, Country and community. It can mean elevating the voices of our children – our future Elders – so they can follow in our footsteps, stand on our shoulders – or even better, forge their owns paths into a bright, thriving and loud future.
For our non-Indigenous friends, this day can be an opportunity to show support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. You can invest in being curious and be open to learning about the importance of connection, culture and family in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.
I encourage everyone to reflect on this year’s theme and how you can support this idea in your own practices when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children.