Australia, Get Bold For Young First Nations People

Australia, Get Bold For Young First Nations People

In Australia, over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under the age of 26, yet often at the decision-making table, these voices are left unheard. This year’s Garma Festival sought to change that. Dylan explores the Imagination Declaration and why he believes this country needs to hear it.

Following on from 2017’s Uluru Statement from the Heart, a group of over 60 young First Nations people gathered for a Youth Forum, a place where their opinions could be amplified and heard. The forum culminated in the Imagination Declaration, delivered to the Prime Minister and Education Ministers from across the country.

It’s a powerful declaration and one that deserves to be taken seriously.

“In 1967, we asked to be counted. In 2017, we asked for a voice and treaty. Today, we ask you to imagine what’s possible. The future of this country lies in all of our hands.”

The declaration isn’t a cry for help, nor is it a thick policy document that’s been filtered down through government bureaucracy. It’s raw, it’s rich, and it’s visionary. It calls on the government to establish an imagination agenda so that all Australians can learn and share in Indigenous knowledge and excellence.

“With 60,000 years of genius and imagination in our hearts and minds, we can be one of the groups of people that transform the future of life on earth, for the good of us all.

We can design the solutions that lift islands up in the face of rising seas, we can work on creative agricultural solutions that are in sync with our natural habitat, we can re-engineer schooling, we can invent new jobs and technologies, and we can unite around kindness.”

Australia, as a nation, has a fantastic opportunity in front of us. The Imagination Declaration has laid out this vision. It’s a call to arms for Australia to be bold and courageous. To build a future we can all be proud of, one that embraces the fact that despite our history, Australia possesses a collection of rich Indigenous cultures. The oldest on Earth.

Together, we can unite and create a better future for all.

“We don’t want to be boxed. We don’t want ceilings. We want freedom to be whatever a human mind can dream. When you think of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kid, or in fact, any kid, imagine what’s possible. Don’t define us through the lens of disadvantage or label us as limited.

Test us. Expect the best of us. Expect the unexpected. Expect us to continue carrying the custodianship of imagination, entrepreneurial spirit and genius. Expect us to be complex. And then let us spread our wings, and soar higher than ever before.”

The Imagination Declaration’s story is just beginning. Over the coming weeks and months, the declaration will be shared with thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in schools, learning centres and universities across Australia. The plan is to build a movement, one that can’t be stopped.

It’s time to start listening.

Feature image: Young people reciting the Imagination Declaration | Source: The Conversation