First up in our series of #StoriesOfSurvival, the founder of IndigenousX, Luke Pearson speaks about what ‘survival’ means to him. Read the Gamilaroi man and education consultant’s words below.
By
Luke Pearson

Source:
NITV
20 Jan 2016 - 2:34 PM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2016 - 12:30 PM

In the lead up to and on Survival Day, NITV is sharing Stories of Survival. We want to hear your stories too. Get involved in the conversation by using the hashtag #StoriesOfSurvival across social media, and your stories will appear our Survival Day feed on the NITV homepage -  www.nitv.org.au.

The Meaning of Survival

I’ve been thinking about the meaning of the word ‘survival’ a lot lately. I’m typically more on the Invasion Day side of things, rather than calling it Survival Day. But I think the key is not spreading the idea that we’ve ‘survived’, past tense. But rather, we’re surviving and it’s a process. 

'part of this is recognising all the people who haven’t survived and the people that we keep losing ... Throughout all of that adversity, we’ve got to keep our strength.'

So for me, it’s about keeping our community strong and looking forward to the future. Of course, part of this is recognising all the people who haven’t survived and the people that we keep losing, and probably will keep losing for a long time yet. Throughout all of that adversity, we’ve got to keep our strength. Survival Day is really about that strength.

How I’ve Survived

I’m 35 now, but it feels like I’ve had a long life. I’ve been through a lot of different trauma over my life. Sometimes I think it was luck more than anything else, that saw me end up here, while someone else ended up not here.  I’ve been lucky enough to have spent time with elders and I’ve had a lot of people give their support to me. Over time that’s developed an inner strength within me.

'Over time that’s developed an inner strength within me.'

Throughout my early adult years, I always knew who I was, I just never knew exactly what that meant. It wears you down over time, that feeling. But now I’m in a really good place. I’ve got a kid on the way. I have a happy family and I’m really thankful that I’ve got to where I am.

Representation & Survival

As much as we can keep those old ways, those old stories and old places alive, we’ve got to. That is the bedrock of everything. We’ve lost so much of our cultural foundations in the destruction of sites, of histories, of languages. But at the same time, there are revival programs under way and efforts to rejuvenate country and to protect sacred sites and diminishing languages.\

'We’re really at the crossroads in a lot of ways.'

So I think we’re really at the crossroads in a lot of ways. Not just protecting what we’ve got, but also building new structures and systems as well. Something like IndigenousX, could only really have come from somewhere like Twitter, for example. Who knows what the future holds. New things will come along and they’ll be really useful. But at the core of everything, it has to come back to culture.

The IndigenousX Contribution

IndigenousX is all about recognising that there isn’t just one way of being and surviving. Or one way of doing things as Indigenous communities and individuals. There are so many different attitudes, ideas and ways of surviving and thriving. There are people trying to make a difference and impact in their own lives, in their families, their communities and the whole world.

'IndigenousX is all about recognising that there isn’t just one way of being and surviving.'

So IndigenousX isn’t about just one way. We need to hear from everyone. If we knew there was only one way to do things, we’d be doing it! We’d already have all the answers. But we don’t, so IndigenousX is a part of that recognition of all the different things people are doing. But, it’s about the fact that we’re still searching for more than we have.

We want to hear what ‘survival’ means to you! Whether it’s about strength in adversity, commemoration and mourning, or hope for the future, hashtag #StoriesOfSurvival across any social media channel, and your photos, yarns and comments will appear on our Survival Day feed, on NITV’s homepage.