SA NAIDOC Awards Celebrate Local Achievements

South Australia has celebrated outstanding contributions by Aboriginal people in our community at the NAIDOC SA Awards, held at the Adelaide Town Hall on 3 July 2017.

From an Aunty and author who has spent her long life sharing her story of being stolen from her family, to a young athlete who played at an elite level from the age of just 16, the awards remind us of the diversity and contributions of South Australian Aboriginal people.

Doris Kartinyeri is a Ngarrindjeri woman who was stolen from her family at just one month old. She spent the first fourteen years of her life at the Colebrook Home. She has been a strong advocate for the Stolen Generation and sharing her own personal journey. She is the author of the book Kick the Tin, which is widely used in schools and universities. Doris Kartinyeri won the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017.

Roxanne Dodd is a league soccer player who scored 19 goals last year. She has represented at state and national level and first represented at league level at the age of 16, showing maturity and strength beyond her years. She’s continuing to develop in her sport and as a role model for young Aboriginal women and was awarded the NAIDOC SA Sportswoman of the Year Award.

The Sportsman of the Year Award was presented to Anthony Wilson, who has played football in the SANFL for Port Adelaide and Norwood, and who spent one year playing in the AFL. Presenting his award, NAIDOC SA Chair Charlene Lamont said that Anthony showed strength and resilience when he was racially vilified and that he is young person who demonstrates a never-give-up attitude.

After receiving his award, Mr Wilson said that he recognised the importance of sports people contributing to their community.

“I guess being a sports person you’re always looked up to and you see the likes of Eddie Betts and Adam Goodes and all those people who stand up and do a lot for their community.

“I’m pretty lucky to be pretty close with Eddie and have learnt a lot from him, not only about footy but as a community person as well, he’s always giving back” he said.

Mr Wilson also works as a Program Manager with AIME, mentoring young people.

“It’s really inspiring to see kids get out of their comfort zone and jump head first into something they don’t know what they are getting into, but that’s what we’re all about, we’re about breaking down that shame barrier and getting kids out there and into being confident in who themselves and who they are and their identity” he said.

Female Elder of the Year Award was presented to Heather Agius. She has worked tirelessly over the years advocating for her community. She volunteers in a number of roles, including with ALRM and Corrections visiting and supporting Aboriginal prisoners.

After her award was presented, Mrs Agius said that she does the work with Aboriginal youth because she loves it.

“I work in Prisons part time, talking to the lads. And I just love what I am doing, I’m helping in some way with the young lads who get into trouble.

“I’m just able to sleep at night. I’m able to see what’s happening across the country as far as imprisonment of Aboriginal people, and trying to help in some small way and trying to get the boys to change their lives” she said.

Making change is not always easy Mrs Agius explained.

“I have had men come up to me and say they want to change, there’s still a lot of hindrances out there, not being able to get jobs, being disqualified from driver’s licence, because they don’t have any trades. So it’s really hard, we are behind the eight ball as far as moving forward with that, so trying to fix those things is a necessity” Mrs Agius said.

Male Elder of the Year went to a face that is familiar to many due to his work in acting and on advertising campaigns, including the Yidaki and the Quit campaign – Stephen Goldsmith. Mr Goldsmith was recognised for his kind and open sharing of his cultural knowledge and his work in reviving the Kaurna language.

Scholar of the Year was presented to Professor James Ward, a researcher and academic who is well known around the country for his strong stance in closing the gap and improving Aboriginal health outcomes.

Artist of the Year is James Tylor, who practices in experimental photographic practices. He uses a hybrid of analogue and digital photographic techniques to create contemporary art works that are generating interest across the country.

Zancott Recruitment was recognised as 2017 NAIDOC Business of the Year. It is a 100% Aboriginal owned labour hire company that provides employment opportunities to Aboriginal people across civil construction, trades, engineering, manufacture, transport and logistics.

The inaugural NAIDOC SA Caring for Country award was presented to a regional Landcare facilitator from the APY lands pastoral program – Walter Tjami. Walter has been in the role for over four years and is highly committed to caring for his country and has been a consistently high achieving young man and a role model for other young Anangu.

Young person of the Year was awarded to Kyren Dixon, a polite and respectful young man who has played football for Port Adelaide and completed a degree. His biggest challenge came when he fell ill, which he fought with the same strength and determination.

The 2017 NAIDOC person of the Year is Paul Vandenbergh, ‎Director of Aboriginal Programs at Port Adelaide Football Club.

Congratulations to the winners of the South Australian #NAIDOC2017 awards!

Female Elder of the Year – Heather Agius

Male Elder of the Year – Stephen Goldsmith

Young Person of the Year – Kyran Dixon

Person of the Year – Paul Vendenbergh

Trainee of the Year – Brenz Saunders

Scholar of the Year – Professor James Ward

Artist of the Year – James Tylor

Aboriginal / Torres Strait Islander Business of the Year – Zancott Recruitment

Lifetime Achievement Award – Doris Kartinyeri

Sportswoman of the Year – Roxanne Dodd

Sportsman of the Year – Anthony Wilson

Caring for Country Award – Walter Tjami

By Lucy Kingston 

SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.