Aboriginal Democracy Ambassador program update

A group of people in the Coranderk Cemetery. They are listening to a woman speaking and looking at a grave site.

This months update comes from Jeremy, our Electoral Inclusion Officer.

"Kia ora,

March has been a very busy month for me and our cohort of Democracy Ambassadors (DAs).

This March I presented at 2 of KGI's REAL leadership youth workshops at Richmond Football Club. These workshops focus on leadership, self-determination and the important role that our DA program will have in working across Aboriginal communities to encourage greater participation in the democratic process.

I was able to finally bring together my DAs and a couple of our Aboriginal Elders Advisory Group members over the weekend and share ideas about connection to country, identity, what self-determination really looks like, and understanding the link between Aboriginal Cultural Renaissance and active voting participation (because it's not always obvious to community).

We were lucky to have Mandy Nicholson perform both the Welcome to Country and Smoke Ceremony, and then take us onto Coranderk Station, to share her family's and people's story and connection to that place. She took us up to the Cemetery where William Barak is buried alongside some other strong Wurundjeri leaders, which was a great honor.

Sunday of the camp we had New Zealand Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon join us via Zoom. Meng spoke about his journey as a strong ally and advocate for not only Maori Cultural revival (he is a fluent Maori speaker), but how being a part of the electoral process has helped lift Maori culture to be at the forefront of what people around the world associate with being a 'New Zealander'.

The 2 main themes for both the camp, but also my own engagement with young Aboriginal leaders, is to show how important it is for them to understand the power of their identity and their culture so that they can then build upon their own story. This can then be used to engage other Aboriginal community members to support their inclusion in the electoral process."