Fremantle Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

TWO mo­ti­vated young women from Atwell and White Gum Val­ley are in the run­ning to be crowned Miss Naidoc Perth 2020 this week­end.

The pair are among 10 fi­nal­ists in the six-week em­pow­er­ment and lead­er­ship pro­gram, which pro­vides young Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander women the op­por­tu­nity to strengthen their pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion and life skills.

Atwell res­i­dent and Ya­matji woman Tay­lor-Jane Bel­lotti said she was de­ter­mined to be a pos­i­tive role model within the com­mu­nity and had com­pleted a vet nurs­ing de­gree be­fore shift­ing her fo­cus.

A pre­vi­ous Polytech­nic West Abo­rig­i­nal stu­dent of the year, Ms Bel­lotti said she was pas­sion­ate about im­prov­ing men­tal health among Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander peo­ple.

“I didn’t feel like I was do­ing enough for peo­ple be­ing a vet nurse,” she said.

“I have a pas­sion for crim­i­nal be­hav­iour and un­der­stand­ing why peo­ple of­fend and how to break that cy­cle, so I did a com­bined psy­chol­ogy and crim­i­nol­ogy de­gree.

“The two main things that I would love to see as the small­est step is a way for in­mates to com­mu­ni­cate with emer­gency men­tal health hot­lines 24/7 in their cell and for Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple to be em­ployed at a greater rate in the men­tal health sys­tem.”

Fel­low fi­nal­ist and White Gum Val­ley res­i­dent Marani Greotorex (23) is a proud Jabirr Jabirr,

Nyik­ina woman from Broome.

Ms Greotorex, who works as an Abo­rig­i­nal sup­port of­fi­cer at the WA Mu­seum, said her val­ues were strongly tied to the pro­mo­tion of cul­tural aware­ness while ad­vo­cat­ing for Abo­rig­i­nal women to cel­e­brate their iden­tity.

“I was drawn to the idea that this pro­gram was a lead­er­ship and em­pow­er­ment pro­gram for young Abo­rig­i­nal women, and to have that op­por­tu­nity to have a plat­form, and to use our voice and speak on is­sues that we deem im­por­tant to us and our com­mu­nity,” she said. “I’m ex­tremely pas­sion­ate about the cul­ture and arts sec­tor and how im­por­tant it is to cre­ate mean­ing­ful and on­go­ing re­la­tion­ships with Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander com­mu­ni­ties, and to en­able them to have the right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion and give them the voice to tell their sto­ries in that way.”

The win­ner will be an­nounced at a Gala Din­ner at Crown Perth on Satur­day.

Tay­lor-Jane Bel­lotti and, inset, Marani Greotorex, are fi­nal­ists in Miss Naidoc.

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