Posted on September 18 2017
The following is a guest post from Australia Day Ambassador, Ivan-Tiwu Copley OAM
I am a Peramangk/Kaurna man , my Father’s side of the family come from the Peramangk Nation of the Mt Lofty Ranges and my mother’s side were Kaurna of the Adelaide plains and her grandmother was an Aboriginal woman who lived near the Reed beds in the 1870’s on the Adelaide plains.
I feel very honoured to have received in 2005 the Premier’s Award for Community Achievement, and again in 2009 the South Australian of the Year Award and to represent SA as an Aboriginal person next to one of my mentors Mick Dodson at the National awards and finally in 2012 the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).
These awards and recognition are to me not just trophies there were recognition of my Family and Friends, Uncles and Aunties who influenced and educated me on the important things that needed doing for our community, I was just the facilitator.
More importantly than anything else these awards provided me with a rite of passage to speak on the needs of Aboriginal Peoples that needs to be heard with people in influential position that I would never had access to otherwise.
Since these awards I was appointed an Ambassador for the Australia Day Council of South Australia and have been to many Australia Day ceremonies where the great achievements of South Australian, Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people are recognised and where new Australians become citizens. Over the past several at these events that I have attended all over South Australia, I have seen it as an opportunity to speak about the first Peoples of this land the local history that goes back thousands of years and of the need for all Australians to understand how the effects of settlement on us and our Families. The opportunity to educate and provide awareness of the enduring culture that surrounds us all, as awareness leads to acknowledgement and this opens the door for recognition of the past, development of partnerships, reconciliation and the one thing we all desire, community harmony through cultural competency.
“I believe Reconciliation is about Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander Peoples and all other Australians understanding and resolving the problems of the past, developing and implementing Reconciliation Action Plans and participating in physical interaction. Establishing National Engagement Protocols, delivering Cultural Awareness and Competency and setting common pathways through acknowledgement of our history for a harmonious Society.”
Ivan-Tiwu Copley OAM, JP