The voice of a 12 year-old is going to play a role in making great change in Australia.
When St John the Evangelist student Bandria Nye-McLeod attended an indigenous conference in Sydney with Jason Groves and Natalie Nye she performed a wonderful rendition of Monica Brown’s ‘This is Our Land’.
Mr Groves wanted people at the Sydney gathering to hear things through the eyes of a child and Bandria then got up and sang.
“She got a standing ovation and I have never seen so many elders cry from happiness in my life,’ Mr Groves said.
They then got an invite to Uluru for the First Nations Convention, and Bandria performed again.
Bandria took it all in her stride.
“Being the person I am, I'm never nervous,” she said.
She loves public speaking.
“I think the convention was about all of our people coming together to talk about what we can do in the future for the next generations,” she said.
The trio were among 300 people who attended the First Nations Convention at Uluru recently and their desire to be there was strong.
A passionate Mr Groves just wanted to be involved.
“I was representing myself, my family and my mob,” Mr Groves said.
“It was the opportunity to have a voice and express an opinion.”
It was a generational experience for Mr Groves, as his grandfather Burt Groves was part of the first referendum changes from the late 1950s.
“Our family had always been part of the Aboriginal movement and Aboriginal advancement - creating great opportunities,” Mr Groves said.
“It is for all of our people and righting wrongs at the end of the day.
“It’s about creating the best opportunities for all our people and I think ultimately at the end of the day through many mediums (music, dance, song, art) and through genuine conversation it creates an environment of two-way sharing.”
He said the process provides an opportunity for unification and for everyone to stand together for the right reasons.
“We can create great change and great change can happen,” he said.
“Australia does have an Aboriginal history and that is never going to change.”
Ms Nye said the convention was an interesting gathering.
“The reason I found it interesting was because of the complexities of how many different groups of people were represented,” she said. Ms Nye promotes the importance of education.
“The best we can do for our children, besides love, care and protect them, is to educate them to the highest level that we can,” she said.
Now, representatives will be sent out all over the country to get more conversations with the Indigenous people going.
“The real message is there needs to be substantial change for the Aboriginal people as we are the direct descendants and owners of country,” Mr Groves said.
He said the change could be constitutional or outside the document.
This is Our Land by Monica Brown
There is a land, an ancient land,
It bears a vast and rugged face
It’s Spirits deep, Haunting and free
It calls to you it calls to me
Come find your soul within my depths
Come make of me your homeland true
This is our land, we are its people
A nation that’s free to realise its dream
A dream for all who dwell in this land to live as one people
One people one land
There is a people an ancient people
There sprits rest deep in this land
there dreamtime creation story and faith
make this land a sacred place
they seek of all a true embrace
that reconciles all that we are
And from distant shores, many have come
To find their home in this great southern land
Where the sprit yearns and seeks to unite us all