NAIDOC Week 2022 - Down Under Tours

NAIDOC Week 2022

July 8, 2022

This year in celebration of NAIDOC week our AAT Kings Brands Town Hall was opened by Down Under Tours Reservations Manager, Natasha Lyons.

Natasha is a proud Mamu woman, and is an integral part of the Down Under Tours team, beginning in our accounts department 10 years ago and now heading up our reservations & operations teams. Our motto is “our people make the difference” and Tash is the perfect example of this, working tirelessly in the background to ensure our many guests enjoy fantastic experiences when travelling with Down Under Tours.

Take a few minutes to read Tash’s heartfelt and personal NAIDOC welcome below and GET UP, STAND UP SHOW UP!

Tash’s NAIDOC welcome…

Good morning, my name is Natasha

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land I am standing on today Yirriganydji, Gimuy Walubara Yindinji, Djabugay Land, It is upon their ancestral lands that Cairns City has been built. I would like to pay my respect to elders, past, present, and emerging.

Naidoc week has been around for a very long time and each year the Naidoc committee comes up with a theme that focuses on an important aspect of our culture and lifestyle. This is a week of pride and celebrations for everyone, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, to come together to reflect on our history, culture and celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This year’s Naidoc week theme is GET UP, STAND UP SHOW UP! It is a call to action for everyone Mob and allies. What can we do independently and together as a community to understand each other, to raise awareness and to create change. It is about celebrating, remembering, honouring, and maybe even learning about key moments in Aboriginal history that created change.

This for me personally is a call to action to decolonise my way of thinking. I am from Innisfail, MAMU Country, which is roughly 1hr south from Cairns. I have had a very privilege upbringing with the support of my mob, my family however I am also very disadvantage, I don’t speak any of my local native languages, I don’t know any of my traditional dances. I am a fair skinned, blonde hair with Hazel Eyes, I am not the Stereotypical Indigenous person you see in any of the tourism brochures. My Great Grandmother was a part of the Stolen Generation and was placed on Palm Island back in 1925, she didn’t know her mother or father, she didn’t even know the correct date or year of her birth just her Identification number E.141. My Great Grandfather was had to prove his heritage to the Aboriginal Department prior to their marriage in 1943. In 1964 when my aboriginal grandfather and English grandmother were walking down the street after having my mother overheard “Ohh, I wonder what colour their baby is??” As long as I can remember my family has always had to deal with Racism in all different forms. I remember in primary school the kids saying to me ” You’re only a quarter you’re not a full aboriginal, I get it today when I make mention my heritage, I get the “Really??, Your aboriginal??” I have constantly had to justify my identity, only recently my uncle explained to me there is a simple analogy. Everyone has their coffee differently a long black, flat white, cappuccino but at the end of the day no matter what you mix into it or how it looks it is still coffee.

Finally, I would like to play you a poem written and read by Stephen Oliver, when I hear this poem it makes my realise that it does not matter the colour of my skin, I know who I am, I know my heritage and I am Proud to be a Mamu Aboriginal Women!!! Happy Nadioc, and together let’s GET UP, STAND UP and SHOW UP for each other!!