Indigenous youth find a voice for the future at summit

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By HIEN TRANG LE

The theme Past. Present. Future will drive a range of activities at the Koorie Youth Summit starting today, including speeches, performances and creative workshops covering videos, dances, visual art and storytelling. 

The  theme helps acknowledge the past, give voice to current concerns, and create a future focusing on Indigenous youth.

Lardil woman Maya Hodge, who is a summit delegate, said it was a platform that helped her bond with her Indigenous peers, share experiences and celebrate their culture.

“It is the chance to reach out to other young Indigenous people and let them know that their voices matter and enable them to be empowered by the stories shared,” Ms Hodge said.

The Koorie Youth Summit is the largest annual gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in Victoria.

“By sharing their stories as Indigenous community members, the youth gather the strength to initiate change in themselves,” Ms Hodge said.

Indigenous Australians from Victoria at the Koorie Youth Summit last year. PHOTO: Supplied

Events at the 2019 summit include a weaving workshop, discussing climate change from an Indigenous perspective, a screening of the documentary After the apology and a day-long festival of live music to end the celebration.

“These creative workshops are effective ways to end negative stereotypes on the Indigenous community,” Ms Hodge said.

“You don’t have to stand up in front of the podium and talk about the issues happening.”

“It’s a different way of showing that everyone can be connected through arts and through music.”

The speakers at the event include a National Indigenous TV presenter Rachael Hocking, Warlpiri woman and a professional athlete Tarsh Bamblett, Gunnai and Gundithmara woman Lidia Thorpe, who is the first Aboriginal woman in the Victorian Parliament,  and several others.

‘Young [Aboriginal] people account for more than 60 per cent of our proud Aboriginal community and it is important that we continue to have a place to gather, meet, empower and inspire,  the Koorie Youth Summit 2017 report said.

The summit continues until May 12  at Lady Northcote, YMCA Camping Grounds in Glenmore.