We sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device, which enable this website to work properly and remember your preferences. You can delete all cookies already on your device and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed, however some functionalities may not work.

Comment: My Connection to National Reconciliation Week

Teegan and Tie

Mahatia Minniecon reflects on her connection to community, identity and family during National Reconciliation Week. 

National Reconciliation Week represents an important moment to me as an Indigenous serving member of Defence, but also as a lesbian, a mother and a nurse.

I have witnessed first-hand the impact that colonisation has had on my elders and the burden that past policies have had on my family and community. The repercussions of these events have resulted in racism, deaths in custody, transgenerational trauma, health disparities between non-indigenous and indigenous people and a seemingly never-ending search for identity, connection and culture among the indigenous community.

The theme of National Reconcilation Week 2019: “Grounded In Truth: Walk Together with Courage,” signifies how far we have come, acknowledges previous failures and celebrates future endeavours.

On a personal level, it is important for me to have a strong cultural connection, however, it is similarly important for me to embrace service culture. Both have identity and connection at the forefront in our shared values, and both have significant importance in shaping our future towards reconciliation action plans. I am extremely thankful for the Indigenous service men and women who have paved the way before me and have allowed me to serve with rights that they themselves may not have had.

Being gay has not always been something that was accepted within my community. It was something that was not discussed, and as a result many young indigenous people were resorting to drugs and suicide as a coping mechanism for their shame and guilt. Colonisation and the Christianity that came with it, has in many ways, shaped indigenous culture by hiding the voices of indigenous LGBTQI people and down played the importance of their relationships in traditional culture. Because of this past history within my culture, it is very important for me to be open about who I am, which will in turn illustrate to my peers that it is okay to be whoever you want to be and that it is okay to have the courage to walk in your own truth, no matter what that may be.

As a mother, it will be important to continue to share my cultural history and pass on stories of the Dreamtime and language. As years pass, certain aspects of our culture start to fade, so it is important to keep these alive by sharing them with my daughter. By celebrating reconciliation week, I hope she learns to be grounded in her own truth, to be able to have challenging conversations and ultimately be able to walk with courage.

As a nurse, I hope to give back to my community. Reconciliation as a nurse means to close the gaps in health disparities and to assist with this in anyway I can. By becoming educated, I inadvertently impact change within my community and also inspire other young Indigenous people to achieve their goals.

National Reconciliation Week acknowledges the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, which amended the Commonwealth Constitution allowing Indigenous people the right to vote. Furthermore, it acknowledges Mabo Day; when the high court ruled native title which signified the first time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s unique connection to land was acknowledged. The date represents an important day of healing and reconciling inequality throughout our country.

Mahatia Minniecon is an Air Force Nursing Officer
28 May 2019


2016 05 10 ReflectionsThumb

StoreGraphic2

Latest News

Defence Leadership Support Ongoing Participation in Mardi Gras

Secretary Mr Greg Moriarty has confirmed ongoing Defence participation in Sydney Mardi Gras Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell and Defence Secretary, Mr Greg Moriarty have reaffirmed Defence Values and...

Read more

DEFGLIS #standproud Campaign Launch

DEFGLIS launches #standproud campaign, which shines a spotlight on diversity in the Defence Department – to strengthen warfighting capability In response to recent reporting that challenges visible diversity in...

Read more

The Rainbow Wreath Project: Commemorating all who served and made the ultimate sacrifice

Anzac Day is a special day in the Australian cultural landscape where everyone has the opportunity to honour and remember a person, a unit or any group of people who...

Read more

From Compassion to Impassioned - An Ally’s Journey

In the lead-up to ANZAC Day, DEFGLIS Vice President Heidi Rossendell reflects on her path to becoming an ally. Just over two years ago, I found myself in a meeting room...

Read more

Experience in management, communication or support?

Become a volunteer