Anita's blog is largely about gratefulness - hers and others - but she also posts about things important to her including books, reading, literacy and Aboriginal arts and culture. The above photo was taken by Tammy Law at Anita's TEDx talk in Brisbane, 2013.
A highlight for me this week was attending the launch of the
Twugia Dreaming anthology, containing
the work of eleven Year 7 Aboriginal students from south-western Sydney. As a
writer, nothing is more inspiring than seeing young creative minds at work. As
a Wiradjuri woman, that overwhelming inspiration comes from experiencing young
Kooris developing their own stories. And that sums up my time with this year's
For three days in August, the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, became the breeding ground for
characters, settings, short stories, poetry and interesting ideas. The students
– all part of the Twugia project- worked in an intensive environment, leaving behind their schools and families
back at Ambarvale, Campbelltown, Leumeah, Macquarie Fields, Prairiewood,
Picton, Narellen and Fairfield West.
What they brought with them was creativity, positive energy,
respect and an abundance of talent, as well as their own experiences of
identity, culture and life for young Kooris in Sydney.
My kids – which I
like to call all the talented students I work with – wrote about their own
sacred places, their favourite seasons, reviews of their most-loved books, and
their happiest and saddest memories.
Their short stories moved from bank robberies to terrifying
moments in a haunted houses. Some used suspense to write a murder mystery,
another became trapped in prehistoric times, while two lads went on an
emotional journey of young love.
One striking poem I wanted to share here (with permission)
by Brandon Morgan, Caibryn Keating and Dean Thompson demonstrates the depth to understanding
these young fellas have of the significant symbol of the Aboriginal flag.
The Aboriginal flag
Than just a piece of
It represents many
That will never be
Our flag contains
Red for blood and
land; yellow for the sun;
And black for us
It represents the
These events were torturous
And caused great
We raise our flag
loud and proud,
To show we are not a
We are the
traditional owners of this land,
You call Australia!
A Luritja Elder
Designed this deadly symbol.
It gives us pride,
makes us strong
And it makes white
I was parent-like-proud on Monday night as I sat with their families
and listened to them perform their first public readings. Indigenous Australia
has a bright future when I think of these kids. And reading the work in Twugia
Dreaming, I am inspired to write more myself, and for that I feel blessed and
Congratulations to the 2011 Twugia group!
And massive thanks to Rachael McKay and the South Western Sydney Region Aboriginal Education Team, and Judith Ridge from WestWords (for editing the book!).