Amplify Blog - Country is Calling
QFCC Youth Advocate Caspen reflects on his journey with being disconnected with culture.
Me: “I’m Aboriginal.”
“But you’re white?”
“Oh wow! You don’t look it!”
“How much though? Is it a grandparent?”
“No, you’re not.”
“Ha, really clinging onto that 1 percent hey?”
“You want to be so special so bad.”
Every Indigenous person has a different connection to their culture and Country. As someone who has lived, so far, a very privileged life, both in economic aspects and socially (I am very white/white-passing), my connection to Country is a little distorted. My father's side of my family is Indigenous, and a lot of my cousins and other extended family are heavily involved in events that celebrate their cultural identities. The only problem is, they live in Sydney, and my family, and I moved up before I could even properly walk. A lot of my connection to my Aboriginality comes from my father who almost entirely dissociates from his own Indigenous identity. It’s not that he’s ashamed or that he doesn’t recognise; it's that his idea of what it means to be Aboriginal is shaped by a negative image. That being said, my siblings and I have never thought of our identity as negative. It’s just been a strange journey of not having a lot of answers about our people. I don’t really know my Indigenous lineage, I don’t have any cultural connections locally, and barely know details of the traditional land I was born on. There are many questions I feel I won’t really have answers to anytime soon.
As I'm growing to learn my strong suits and passions, I've recognised a magnet that's pulling me towards supporting other Indigenous people. While completing a Certificate in Social Justice, I couldn’t help but empathise with every story I heard about other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. So many unfortunate people who don’t have any access to support systems or any idea how to find them. These people, of whom I am polar opposites to, yet share an identity. I know there needs to be change. I know it needs to happen. I want to make it happen, somehow, in any way I can. I may not have a complete connection to my cultural identity, and I may never get the chance to connect entirely with it myself, but I hope in the future that I will be able to facilitate and encourage others to do that themselves. I want to be that change made. Even just a small change for one person would be so significant to me. It feels like a calling to help I’ve never quite heard before and it almost feels like I’m connecting back to Country in a way. A strange but meaningful way.