Kyol Blakeney talks about Indigenous identity

“Did you know I’m 1/8 Aboriginal?” “You’re a half caste.” “I have 33% Aboriginal in me.” ……. BULLSHIT!…. You are either Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander or not. When will some people realise that it is not about what fraction or percentage of a nationality you are? It is about how proud you are to identify with the longest living race of people in the world. Nobody can just stand up and claim Aboriginality with a percentage. What I am interested in is how you feel about it in your heart.

It is well understood that some people may not know if they have an Indigenous background or have just found out recently. This is okay. It depends on if that person is willing to accept who they are and be proud of it. Being Indigenous is not just about the blood running through your veins. It’s about how you look for ways to identify and connect with the culture.

So, how do you identify with your culture? Understanding how we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples operate in our community is of major importance. Community is everything to us. There is very rarely a time when an Indigenous person will not drop everything there and then, to help out a fellow black fulla. To all Indigenous people it does not matter if an Indigenous person is charcoal black or milky white. If they are proud to identify as Indigenous and participate in community opportunities, they are more than welcome to. What I do not want to see are people who are embarrassed about their culture, but identify only when there is a benefit to be had.

The most well known definition of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is not from a percentage. Under Section 4(1) or the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) an Aboriginal person means a person who: (a) is a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia, and (b) identifies as an Aboriginal person, and (c) is accepted by the Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal person.

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