• Murama Indigenous Youth Summit (NITV News)Source: NITV News
Sixty First Nations youth from across the country gathered in Sydney to share their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures at the inaugural Murama Indigenous Youth Summit.
Ross Turner, Michelle Rimmer

19 Oct 2016 - 1:26 PM  UPDATED 20 Oct 2016 - 11:27 AM

The two day event was an opportunity for Indigenous youth, aged 17 to 24, to connect with Aboriginal Elders, learn about their culture, and develop skills to share their cultural journey with others.

The emerging leaders then led 200 local school students in activities unique to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Indigenous mentors led a range of cultural activities, including traditional music, art, dance and spear throwing.

For many non-Indigenous local students, it was their first hands-on experience of Australia's Aboriginal culture.

While learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is a part of current NSW school curriculum, Murama leader and education lecturer Shirley Gilbert says more immersive programs, like the Murama Summit, are key to educating young Australians about our Indigenous history.

 NITV spoke with Ms Gilbert at the conclusion of the Murama Indigenous Youth Summit.

NITV: What is the Murama youth summit? 

SG: Murama is about sharing culture, language and education experiences with young people, our newest generation. We have amazing young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island youths and we want to help them stand strong, stand up and stand tall. We also want to show what it’s like to be young and Indigenous in Australia. 

NITV: Where are the youth from that take part in the summit?

SG: We’ve had two aspects to this summit. Yesterday it was about leaders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island youths from around Australia. Some come from Dubbo, Bathurst, Canberra, Cairns, etc.

Today it’s been more of a mixture of non-Indigenous and Indigenous children from local schools all gathered out at Olympic Park. We’ve had kids from Croydon Public School, Canada Bay, Mt Druitt and Campbelltown. There’s also been Catholic schools, independent schools and state schools involved. There was a much bigger turn out than we expected which was great. 

NITV: What are some of the key issues discussed at the summit? Do things such suicide and culture get discussed?

SG: We discussed things such as drugs and alcohol and, yes, something on suicide. We also held a special event with a native American group who were here to help encourage people to help grow the strength of their families, their friends and their community.

We also had a session that talked with elders about the stolen generation and talked about identity with those that feel that their identity is missing. Many youths these days are missing essential information. We wanted to help our youths learn how to deal with this, so that they can stand tall and be strong and resilient on things such as racism and stereotypes.

NITV: How does a youth summit like this benefit our youth?

SG: As an Indigenous educator, I think we’ve shown schools and the community that cross-curriculum is doing well and that a tokenistic approach won’t work. We’ve got to be building on our level of communication with schools and taking small steps to help our youth and encourage them to stand up and be leaders. 

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