Video length: 4 minutes
Speakers: Ms Charlee Sue-Frail, and Mr Robert Williams
Charlee Sue-Frail: My name’s Charlee Sue-Frail, I’m a Gnambri woman from Breowrana in Northwest New South Wales.
Robert Williams: My name is Robert Williams. I am originally from Canberra, born here. My mother is non-Indigenous, originally from Sydney and my father’s a Ngambri-Ngunawal man.
Charlee Sue-Frail: I started year 7 in 2000 and went through to 2005. So I grew up in, you know, some really important times, times when the internet was really coming along.
Robert Williams: It was almost a time of revolution when it came to technology and things.
Charlee Sue-Frail: I just think 2000 was a really great year, music, hip hop, and R and B.
Robert Williams: At the moment I’m studying a Masters of Archaeological Science. Right now I’m sort of focusing in Melanesian archaeology so … I hope that, for that to be my research focus, maybe do a research thesis. But I also have, the theme that’s running alongside that is cultural heritage and eventually I want to become a contract archaeologist.
Charlee Sue-Frail: I just have one more subject to finish off. I’m doing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in politics, anthropology and sociology at the Australian National University. I just started working full time for Recognise This which is the youth-led movement for Constitutional recognition of First Australians.
Robert Williams: At AIATSIS I work in the Native Title and Cultural Heritage project with Dr Pam McGrath, she really heads the project. She’s the NTRU research fellow. So what we do … we’re looking at legislation, things like reform to cultural heritage legislation and really how they interact with Native Title legislation. So we want to know how people are engaging with and managing their cultural heritage and what sort of regulations or laws they’re using to do so.
Charlee Sue-Frail: I really loved my job, I love that we have an opportunity at the moment and Australia has an opportunity at the moment to do the biggest acknowledgement of Country that this nation has ever seen and that’s to write Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in to the Constitution.
Robert Williams: I asked the question, ‘how are these people out there, how are they, you know, working with Aboriginal communities, out there engaging with Aboriginal communities and you know, travelling’ and it just seemed like a fantastic sort of, lifestyle I guess. So I sort of thought, ‘well how do I get to that?’ And the answer was education.
Charlee Sue-Frail: I’ve seen how important education is and how important it is for self-improvement and I think that’s one element I want to continue on with is just self-improvement and the way I want to do that is through education.
Robert Williams: We’ve seen Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders become members of Parliament, we’ve seen the Apology. What I’d like to see in the next 20 years and further into the future is greater involvement in economic opportunities for Aboriginal people. And for this to happen I think there has to be amendments to things like heritage legislation, native title legislation and things like fishing rights around coastal New South Wales for example.
Charlee Sue-Frail: Within the next five years both personally and professionally what I want to see happen is I hope that Australia votes ‘yes’ in a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution, and to fix elements of race discrimination. Professionally, personally for me, I just want stories of our culture, you know, celebrated by all Australians.
Robert Williams: My advice that I want to give you all is: keep it deadly, keep it true, stay true to yourselves and keep pushing for it and keep following your passions.
Charlee Sue-Frail: I guess my message for all you young people out there is just that you know, so many of our elders have fought for the opportunities that we have today and I think we owe it as a legacy to them to continue on that journey. And whether that’s through education and doing as best as you can at school or whether you want to go on to higher education or whether is taking opportunities within jobs. You know, we all have a really important role to play for the future of Australia and for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I think you should never forget how important you are in the whole scheme of things. I think it’s really important that you always believe in yourself and try to be the best person you can be. Never forget where you came from—but always look forward to where you’re going to.