• A Facebook post, shared thousands of times asks for an Aboriginal flag emoji to be created. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
'Dear Apple. Can you add an Aboriginal Flag to our iPhone Emojis next update!' says young Aboriginal woman.
Sophie Verass

27 May 2016 - 4:40 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 4:40 PM

In light of commemorating #SorryDay yesterday, Tamworth resident, Shae-Lee Ison, 18, took to social media and called for Indigenous representation on Apple's iPhone.

Shae-Lee uploaded a sharable post on Facebook, to petition for both, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag on the emoji keypad.

The post, which was only published yesterday afternoon, has already received over 8,000 shares. It began the rounds with Shae-Lee's close friends and family in Northern NSW and now has the support from members of the public further south, in cities like Sydney and Canberra.


Shae-Lee, a Kamilaroi woman, who was recently a student of the Aboriginal Learning Circle at TAFE New England up until the birth of her old son, called for the flag icons as she felt it was unfair not to include her country on the service.

“My friend told me something about all the flags of the world being in the emoji list since the new update,” she told NITV. “but I just thought, ‘what about my country’s flag? The Aboriginal nation’s flag’.”

An admitted technology addict, Shae-Lee joked that like many young Australians, she uses emojis a lot.

“As Sorry Day was yesterday, I wanted to make a Facebook status that used images of Aboriginality, like the flag. Obviously there isn’t one, so instead, I made that post.”

In just hours, Shae-Lee’s campaign spread through social media, with overwhelming positive reception.

“So far I’ve had lots of people share it – lots of Aboriginal people, mostly,” she said. “I’ve gotten lots of supportive inbox messages, which is great. Yesterday afternoon a woman messaged me highlighting that there’s no Torres Strait Islander flag either, which is why I amended my post in the comment bit.”

While Shae-Lee asks Apple to adjust the graphic keypad, the company behind the emoji phenomenon is American coding techheads, Unicode. Apple is one of the many other smartphone subscribers to the Unicode dictionary of picture content. However, NITV still asked Apple Australia for a comment, in which they gave “no comment”.

As Shae-Lee’s Facebook post reaches more people Australia-wide, let’s hope this time next year smartphone users like her will have appropriate flag emojis to promote cultural identity and Indigenous heritage.

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