Freelance journalist, Gina Poulos speaks with well known Indigenous activist and MP Linda Burney on various issues including social justice, how she became involved in politics, meeting her biological father and what she wants to accomplish most as a politician.
The Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, also made a fascinating observation about the Greek and Indigenous cultures.
As an Australian of Greek background I know it can be a struggle – especially as a young person – to reconcile my Greek identity and culture – with the dominant Australian culture. Is there a similar tension for Indigenous Australia, that is, between the desire to preserve and defend Indigenous culture and traditions, on the one hand, and assimilation, on the other? Are these two worlds irreconcilable?
That is a fantastic question.
A lot of people I think want to divide, to be mischievous and say well you know, you’re part Aboriginal and that is not a term that is acceptable within the Aboriginal community. If your heritage is Aboriginal then that’s your identity. It doesn’t mean you discount, for example the fact that I was raised by my great Aunt and Uncle who were of Scottish heritage. Of course that is important but my Indigeneity is who I am, it’s what I identify with, it’s the way in which the world identifies you as well.
It is difficult to walk in both worlds. It is not always a successful journey for so many people and we see very tragic outcomes usually if that is a difficult pathway. Australia is a remarkable place. I know very well the Greek community. I am just in awe of the Greek community in terms of the way in which there have been clearly decisions about preserving story, culture, language, dance, tradition and I believe very firmly that that is what makes us a strong country where people from different ethnic backgrounds, Indigenous backgrounds are able to bring into the Australian mix those strengths and those cultures.
‘I see my heritage as an Aboriginal person, as part of your heritage as a Greek Australian. It is something that we can all be proud of,’
That is the modern Australia, that is who we are. I see my heritage as an Aboriginal person, as part of your heritage as a Greek Australian or anyone that is watching this show. It is something that we can all proud of.
*To watch the entire interview with Linda Burney, please visit: facebook.com/luckycountryManickProductions
By Gina Poulos