Above: Jenna Lee (Larrakia artist, Gilimbaa)
A PERSON I LOOK UP TO
Jacob (14 years), NSW
Let me tell you about Ricky, my hero at school. The reason Ricky is my hero is because he is proud to be Aboriginal and I look up to him for advice about my culture. He is in Year 12, his Country is Kamilaroi. I am in Year 9, and my Country is Darug. Ricky is a great leader. Last year, he taught the Year 8 boys at my school the Aboriginal War Cry. He was really good at it, and also really good at teaching it. The whole school was so proud of him. The teachers and the kids and everyone. He was really proud and excited to teach us and was offended when some of the boys were mucking around and mocking it. He taught them how to be respectful of Aboriginal people, and how important our culture is, not just to us, but also to them. They don’t mock it any more.
Ricky taught me that the War Cry was important because it is a big cultural dance. It’s a huge thing for Aboriginal people to show off their pride and culture, because people have told us to not be proud for so long. It was amazing to watch non-Indigenous people learn it because it shows that we are proud to be Aboriginals, and they are proud to share it with us. He also does the Acknowledgement of Country at my school at assemblies and on special occasions, which I personally think is very brave, because you have to get up on stage in front of the whole school. Even some teachers are scared of doing that. Kids used to be mean to him about it, but he still did it because he knew that it was important to teach people about us. After he taught the War Cry, kids are more respectful.
Ricky wants to train me to do it, and hopefully this year, I’ll get a chance. Our school is on Darug land, and I am Darug, so I will get to do a proper Welcome to Country, not just an acknowledgement. I’m not quite ready yet, though. I am hoping that I can be trained and do it at Ricky’s graduation to show him how much he has taught me and how proud I am. I think that would be pretty good. Ricky is an all-round awesome person. He is kind to me and everyone else at our school. He is a laid back, cool guy who loves being an Aboriginal and he is respectful towards all people, including his elders and his culture. I hope that one day, I can be just like him.