Senate debates

Tuesday, 25 February 2020


In My Blood It Runs

8:47 pm

Photo of Malarndirri McCarthyMalarndirri McCarthy (NT, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise tonight to speak on a film called In My Blood It Runs. I had the opportunity of hosting the film this evening. I'd like to read and put on the parliamentary record the words of the young man who the film is about: young Dujuan, who is 13 years old. This is his story. I'd like to read it to senators here:

My name is Dujuan. I am 13 years old and I am from Arrernte and Garrwa Country. I grew up at Sandy Bore outstation and at Hidden Valley Town Camp in Alice Springs.

Last year I spoke to world leaders at the United Nations and showed them my film In My Blood It Runs. Now I'm showing you so you can understand what it is like for kids like me, and then maybe you can find a way to make things more better.

In My Blood It Runs tells the story of me when I was 10 years old. It shows what it's like to be an Aboriginal kid and how we are treated everyday in Australia.

The film shows me getting in trouble with school. They were going to take me away with welfare. I was getting in trouble with the police and I nearly got sent to jail.

But I was lucky because of my family. They are strong. My family love me. They were worried for me. They found a way to keep me safe. I am alright now, but lots of kids aren't so lucky.

There's lots of things I say in this film. Lots of things I think about and I am worried about. I am going to read some of these things now.

I ask… "Why do only rich people have good houses and not us?"

In the film, I wished I was living on that side of the hill in Alice Springs where the houses are nice. Why are those houses so different to ours?

I say… "The history in school is for white people. But the history that I'm told at home is in language and is for Aboriginals."

In the film, we were taught that Captain Cook was a hero and discovered Australia. That's not true. Before there were cars, buildings and houses there were just Aboriginal people. The first people who had the magic were the first people on the land. Aboriginal people had the land.

It made me confused and then not want to listen at school.

In the film, my school report cards said that I was a failure. Every mark was in the worst box. 'E' 'E' 'E'. When I saw that I thought, "is there something wrong with me?" I felt like a problem.

The film shows me working hard as an Ngangkere. That means a traditional healer. Many people don't see my strength, my culture and me learning from my Elders and my land. This is who I am, and they don't see this at school.

I think that if you want kids to go to schools and learn, then schools should be run by Aboriginal people. Let our families choose what is best for us. Let us speak our languages in school and learn about what makes us strong. I think this would have helped me from getting in trouble, and getting locked up or taken away by welfare.

In the film, I watched the kids on TV being tortured in juvie and it scared me. I say… "I know lots of kids that have been locked up in Dondale. The coppers tortured Dylan Voller. They treat him like they treat their enemies."

I don't why those guards didn't get locked up for treating kids like that.

I want you to stop cruelling 10-year-old kids in jail. I know I was really cheeky, but no kid should be in jail. I learnt that Australia is one of the only countries in the world that locks 10-year-olds up. I needed help, why would you do that?

In the film I say, "This story is about me and what I think is stop taking Aboriginal kids away from their parents - that's wrong."

I also think welfare needs to be changed. My great grandmother was taken in the stolen generation. My other great grandmother was hidden away from government. That story runs through my blood pipes all the way up to my brain and it's still going. I was worried they were going to take me too.

My film is for all Aboriginal kids. It is about our dreams, our hopes and our rights. Aboriginal kids are smart. I hope you think of me when you are making big laws about us.

Because of what happened to me, when I grow up I want to fight for rights for black people.

What I want is a normal life of just being me. I want to be allowed to be an Aboriginal person, living on my land with my family and having a good life.

I hope you can listen to my families who have come from all around Australia to sit with you in Parliament today.

They are clever. They have answers and they are asking you to let us run our own schools, Aboriginal schools. They are teaching our little kids already. They are trying to change education and they need more support to do this properly.

I hope you—

the leaders in the parliament—

will watch my film and listen.

Baddiwa - that's goodbye in my other language, Garrwa—

the language of the gulf region.