If the youth are our future then we are in pretty good hands. NITV recognises 10 Indigenous young people who have excelled in their fields for National Youth Week 2016.
Karina Marlow

8 Apr 2016 - 12:03 PM  UPDATED 8 Apr 2016 - 12:03 PM

1. Chern'ee Sutton, contemporary artist

At only 19 years of age, Kalkadoon woman Chern'ee Sutton has already landed some notable fans of her work: the NRL and the Commonwealth Games. And did we mention she's met the Duchess of Cambridge! The contemporary visual artist combines traditional painting with contemporary imagery to create one-of-a-kind artworks, and is the artist behind the Indigenous All Stars team jersey, plus co-created the Commonwealth Games mascot, Borobi.

2. Amelia Telford, environmentalist

It's been a big year for Amelia Telford. The 22-year-old Bundjalung woman won the 2015 Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year and helped to officially launch SEED, a network of young First Nations environmentalists. With the Paris Climate talks as well as the Adani coal mine in her sights, raising the profile of climate change and environmental issues has never been more important.

Amelia Telford: Young people need to rise up to protect country
COMMENT | "As a young Aboriginal woman, everything I know about my culture is about looking after our land and looking after each other. They’re one in the same. But right now, it’s getting harder and harder to fulfill these cultural responsibilities." But we can't just sit by, says environmentalist and Protect Country Seed Summit organiser, Amelia Telford.

3. Taz Clay, filmmaker and proud brotherboy

A winner of the SBS National Youth Week Competition, Taz pitched a short film based on his experiences coming out as transgender. Taz underwent five days of film-making workshops to produce his film on identity which will be shown on SBS during National Youth Week. After coming out last year on the 'Brotherboys' episode of Living Black, he believes it is an important time for his story to be told to increase the visibility of transgender young people in our communities.

4. Nayuka Gorrie, youth worker and campaigner

As Indigenous program manager at the Foundation for Young Australians, Nayuka Gorrie, has a passion for "working across the country with rad young blackfullas". A campaigner for Indigenous rights and the environment she has represented Australia at the United Nation Climate Change Conference and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

5. Otis Carey, surfer and artist

A star at last year's Indigenous surfing titles and the 2014 winner, Otis Carey also has talents beyond the waves. The Sydney-based surfer is also a promising artist, even painting a tuk tuk on a recent trip to Thailand. Otis is also not afraid to stand up against racism in sport, taking on Surfing Life magazine after they published an offensive comment about his Indigenous heritage.

"I just think I feel like myself when I'm in the ocean, I feel like I'm the best person I can be. '

6. Nakkiah Lui, playwright and actress

With the release of her second full-length play last year and another season of Black Comedy in the bag for ABC it's a wonder that Nakkiah Lui has had time to do anything else. The talented playwright, actress and comedian has also appeared as a panelist on Q&A and on Hack Live and been writing opinions pieces for the Australian Women's Weekly, The Guardian and even NITV.

7. Thomas E.S. Kelly, dancer and actor

A proud Wiradjuri and Bundjalung man, Thomas graduated from the NAISDA Dance College in 2012 and has been performing ever since. Currently appearing in his first full-length dance/theatre work at Next Wave Festival, he has toured Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore developing his creative talents in drama and dance.

8. Chris Tamwoy, singer/songwriter

This young virtuoso guitarist has well and truly earned his nickname of 'Magic Fingers',  after finishing as a finalist on Australia's Got Talent earlier this year. Opening for the John Butler Trio at Byron Bay Blues Festival was a personal highlight for him and we look forward to Chris going on to bigger and better things. Check out his first album Ngaw Laag (My Home) released last year.

NAIDOC Youth of the Year - the story of Chris Tamwoy
Chris Tamwoy, who earned the nickname "Magic Fingers” for his skills as a virtuoso guitarist, captures audiences around the country with his music.

9. Ian Zaro, comedian

It was his lip-sync videos that originally landed 20-year-old Ian Zaro aka Dubsmash King a place on ABC's Black Comedy. Ian continues to write and create his own Youtube clips and NITV predicts that we'll be seeing a lot more of this young comedian over the next few years.

10. Rachael Hocking, journalist

Last but not least, NITV's own Rachael Hocking has been hard at work reporting on everything from land rights to the disproportionate rate of domestic violence amongst Indigenous Australians. Our dedicated reporter leaped at the chance to head to the National Remote Indigenous Media Festival in her home town of Lajamanu, Northern Territory in 2015 to collect stories from remote Australia for NITV.