Sunday, July 3, 2011

Paul Brant on NAIDOC Week...

It’s NAIDOC Week! So it’s time to celebrate all that is wonderful in our community. I love NAIDOC Week for the opportunities it presents specifically to school communities to bring all their students, teachers and parents together to talk history, arts and culture. I’ve got more to say about NAIDOC later in the week, but for the next few days I’m handing my blog over to some bright Indigenous stars, like tonight’s guest, Paul Brant, the Indigenous Employment Coordinator at the ABC.

I love Paul’s quote, "Our people are our greatest asset!” And with that in mind, can I suggest that this NAIDOC Week, be sure and value all your assets!

Paul’s thoughts on NAIDOC Week:
NAIDOC is a time to celebrate the many achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and ensure that all Australians take some time to gain a greater understanding of our culture, our history and our peoples.

I love having the opportunity to showcase Indigenous talent and excellence and at the ABC. We have had many events and guests over the years that have been held during NAIDOC WEEK. I have aimed to put in place an atmosphere during NAIDOC week @ ABC where not only that our customs are adhered to but our diversity is demonstrated. Indigenous Australia represents the many nations of Aboriginal Australia and also the Torres Strait Islanders who have customs and practices far different from Aboriginal customs.

It is a week where success and achievement can be celebrated, and there is so much to celebrate, the Indigenous talent in this country is strong and growing and I feel here at the ABC this is demonstrated with the incredible staff we have across the country. For instance Wayne Chee is the ABC’s longest serving Indigenous staff member who in 2011 celebrates 33 years service at the ABC. We have incredible journalists; such as Lorena Allam, Rhianna Patrick, Airlie Ward, Francis Tapim, Daniel Browning and Michael Park, our world class camera operators like Erik Havnen, Michael Nudl and Brendan Read and our specialist Indigenous programs; who make sure that Indigenous Australia has a voice at the National Broadcaster.

I don’t want to paint a rosy picture that all is fine in Indigenous Australia and the challenges we all have are immense and here at the ABC that picture is no different but I think human nature means that we can be caught up in the myriad of issues and not take some time to celebrate achievement and that is what NAIDOC week allows us all to do. The advancements made by our people in the last 25 years is a real testament of our tenacity, our pride and the building blocks put in place by our elders.

In my view our people are our greatest asset and really assist in breaking down the barriers and misunderstanding that sometimes exist in mainstream Australia. Our diversity within our culture is celebrated and builds a bridge for all Australians to take pride in a 60,000 year history. The more we all know the more we can all grow.

The week itself is full on but a very worthwhile one that some may see as window dressing but I see it as an opportunity for people to come to the window and look in, get a deeper understanding of who and what Indigenous Australia is.


Georgina Liew said...

Paul, I love your comment about NAIDOC being a chance, particularly non-Indigenous Australians, to "come to the window and look in". I'm really lucky to have a wonderful colleague who has been able to share his culture with me (@mobjobs I mean you!) and it's been the most wonderful experience. NAIDOC's a chance for us all to share in that experience.

Valerie Parv said...

"I think human nature means that we can be caught up in the myriad of issues and not take some time to celebrate achievement and that is what NAIDOC week allows us all to do." So true, Paul. Your thoughts deserve wider dissemination. Thanks for sharing and to Anita for the forum. Look forward to reading more.
Valerie Parv