Aunty Joyce Summers

A different kind of activist

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Q: How do we change attitudes in terms of appreciating and embracing our indigenous culture?

I see it as coming through the school system. Our kids and non-indigenous kids, they’re the future of this country, so you have to let them know about past events, things that did happen but they should never be allowed to happen again, and about the history of our people, the history of their people.

We were more than just black fellas running about in the bush naked. We were more than that. We had a society that worked for us and a culture that worked for us.

I’m not what you call an … well I am an activist, but I’m an activist in a different way. I can get on my soap box if you like, but I try not to. I do cross-cultural training and my son says when I start getting carried away, he just says, “Mum, mum, mum.”

We’re there to give the facts and to teach, not blame people. Just to teach and give them the facts and they can make up their own minds. Our job as cross-cultural trainers is not to say, “You people did it.” because those people didn’t do it. It’s not those people.

The younger (indigenous) ones seem to want to embrace different cultures these days, so our younger ones have to be reminded that the freedom that you have today comes at a price.

A lot of people had to fight for the right to walk the streets without being hassled, without having people having a racist attitude. Even to have our own recognition as being Australians in this country.

Now that Churaki has been recognized as someone who is an identity and being the first lifesaver is something that I think should always be remembered.

I say, if we want to make a difference in our lives, we have to get educated and place ourselves where we can make a difference.

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Aunty Joyce Summers

Creative partner of Bleach* Festival since 2011