Aliya Chalmers, SNAICC Policy and Research Intern
My name is Aliya Chalmers and I am an Aboriginal woman who has grown up on Ngunnawal land in Canberra. Though I am not sure who my mob is, I value, respect and embrace learning of other Aboriginal cultures throughout my lifelong journey in finding my mob.
NAIDOC week reminds me of the ever-growing resilience and strength of my culture, and emphasises – to all – that Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land.
The theme for this year, Because of her, we can!, provides me with the hope of finding my own mob through the strength of my ancestors, family and every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman I have met.
Aboriginal women are the heart of our culture, who have not only fought for our rights since the beginning but maintained and continued our culture into the present and future. Finally recognising women as the theme of NAIDOC, Because of her, we can! illustrates how empowered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman are, not only through strength in maintaining culture, but also within the competitive nature of Western society. Indigenous women continue to achieve in every field despite all odds, which can be seen in the success of Indigenous women as politicians, teachers, social workers, doctors; dancers, to say a few.
The determination of my grandparents, mum and aunties to find out the truth about our undiscovered histories inspires me to never give up on finding culture and connection. My mum and aunt are both teachers, dedicating their lives to changing the longstanding common practice of poor education of Indigenous people and histories, ensuring a better future for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Because of them, I can.