Committee Spotlight: Gandu Jarjum
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 125 No 7, 2 October 2020, page no.23
With NAIDOC celebrations deferred until November, now is an appropriate time to profile Gandu Jarjum, the QTU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education committee.
The committee is comprised of 15 members who identify as an Aboriginal person and/or a Torres Strait Islander person. Geographical representation is proportional to the distribution of members across the state. At least two members must be Torres Strait Islander members, and one of these must work in the Torres Strait. The committee also has a TAFE member. The chair of the committee is Amanda Power. Until recently the committee secretary was QTU Assistant Secretary – Services Officer, Kevina O’Neill; however, in future the new committee secretary will be Rachel Bos, the newly appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Officer.
Here the members of Gandu Jarjum explain what the 2020 NAIDOC theme "Always was, always will be" means to them.
“It acknowledges that we are Country and Country is us. Now we have the ‘scientific’ evidence to celebrate Aboriginal cultures as the oldest continuing cultures anywhere in the world. We can be recognised as the First Nations of Australia, our achievements acknowledged as the defining moments of our country’s development, and our cultures celebrated as part of the rich tapestry that constitutes Australia.” Tennille Bainbridge
“For me, ‘Always was, always will be’ is the cornerstone of reconciliation. Embracing and acknowledging the true history of this country; that the very first footprints on this land were these belonging to first nation peoples. ” Rachel Bos
“Always was a Nation of Warriors, Visionaries, Teachers and Activists; Always will be the Custodians of the Land, Sea and Waterways of this country for history and truth to flow for all for future generations." Letitia Choppy
"Always was belonging to our great country Australia and now there will always be a fight to belong to Australia. Our silence is acceptance, if we find our voice we can make a difference for our First Nation students and educators." Merv King
“To me, ‘Always was, always will be’ means the land, plants, water, animals, sky, sun, moon and the stars are all a part of me and I am a part of them... ” Leeanne Konstantinou
"Our Ancestors are all around us. They are watching out for us and will sometimes communicate with us to keep us on the right path. These signs are all around us. This has always been the way. After we are gone, they will continue to guide our people forwards." Peter Lubke
“All Australians need to acknowledge and embrace our true history. 'Always was, always will be' is the beginning of acknowledging the sovereignty of First Nations peoples of this ancient land. By recognising this, our rightful place, Australia will move forward in a true identity of strength that is grounded in thousands of generations of knowledge and wisdom.“ James Matysek
"Always was connected to the land. Always will carry the DNA of one of the oldest living cultures on the planet." Letitia Murgha
“It allows us to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of our land and how they have occupied and cared for this land for many generations, and always will. To learn about our history, to embrace it, to understand it and to celebrate the unique connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with the land and sea.” Leah Newcombe
"When I think about what ‘Always was, always will be’ means to me, I immediately think of my family, my ancestors, my Country. It’s my identity, my culture, my whole being. It connects me to my past and it’s the part of me that will go on in the future." Amanda Power
“The NAIDOC 2020 theme for me is a strong statement that highlights our unceded sovereignty, our connection to Country, and our continuous presence as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.” Madeleine Pugin
“I think about those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people that have come before me and those that will come after me. This thought enacts a meaningful purpose and drive within me to ensure that culture of the past is never forgotten and that this and new lessons are passed on so that our future will always be.” Freddie Reid
“For more than 50,000 years we have walked on this land. It is and will always be the lands of our people. Sovereignty never seeded.” Penny Taylor
"Always was, always will be recognises First Nations history and our ongoing spiritual and cultural connection to land, sea and waterways. We always were here, and we always will be - sovereignty was never ceded." Emerson Zerafa-Payne