What Does it Mean to be Australian – In Conversation with Sue Hodges

Sue Hodges is a proud Wiradjuri woman and is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Coordinator for The Salvation Army NSW and ACT Division.

As we have with all our participants, we asked Sue what her thoughts were on January 26 and this is what she said:

If all Australians could show empathy for what happened to my people at the time of contact and colonisation and accepted the truth that my people were robbed of their land and left poor; robbed of their water and the produce that sustained them since time immemorial and the pre-meditated effort put in to destroy Australia’s First Nations people culture including language etc; I would be happy to get involved. 

I am grateful for those who do acknowledge the past wrongs and who meet my people half way to acknowledge and to make an effort to understand and put in place strategies to pay back some sort of compensation for the loss.

So do I celebrate it? Why celebrate a battle when there can only be winners and losers?

Q: What is Australia’s capacity to change??

Australia does have the capacity. This is the land of opportunity – we have an abundance of natural, human and material resources from which we can gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history

Q: What gives you hope?

I have found hope in government and non-government sectors who are building cultural awareness and providing culturally safe places for my mob, like The Salvation Army who are planning on implementing our Cultural Competency and Capability Framework. This framework encompasses our first national Reconciliation Action Plan, our Community Engagement, Recruitment and Retention and Cultural Learning standards just to name a few of the tools available to change our country’s landscape for the betterment of our First Nations people.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Salvation Army

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