Mu­si­cal myth­buster

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By LISA THOMAS

CRAW­LEY pre-medicine stu­dent Ziggy Fat­nowna is one of a small pro­por­tion of in­dige­nous peo­ple to make it to univer­sity.

The 21-year-old from Arn­hem Land said of Aus­tralia’s 2 per cent in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion, half would be im­pris­oned be­fore grad­u­at­ing Year 12 and only a small amount of those would go on to univer­sity.

He said the weight of know­ing there were in­dige­nous Aus­tralians who did not have ed­u­ca­tion or self-de­ter­mi­na­tion fol­lowed him ev­ery­where.

Re­flect­ing on Naidoc Week, he thought the con­cept was great but said there was still a long way to go be­fore rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and equal­ity.

“I think Naidoc Week is awe­some, how­ever it’s not enough,” he said. “A week won’t fix 200 years of op­pres­sion. “If you need re­mind­ing of how far we have left to go look at the re­ac­tion to Adam Goodes, the 20year gap in life ex­pectancy and deaths in cus­tody – equal­ity in Aus­tralia is a myth and it's to make peo­ple feel good.”

The UWA stu­dent said an at­ti­tude shift was needed to fill the gap between in­dige­nous and non­indige­nous Aus­tralians.

“Our cul­ture is the long­est liv­ing civil­i­sa­tion and it sad­dens me that Aus­tralia is miss­ing out on that,” he said.

“We go on hol­i­days to other coun­tries and find out about their cul­tures and learn their lan­guage, but how many of us do that in our own coun­try?”

The singer/song­writer has re­leased his new EP called Black Thoughts, which has had air­time on Triple J.

He said the mu­sic was about in­dige­nous rights and his ex­pe­ri­ence of mod­ern day race re­la­tions.

“My whole life I've tried to be palat­able to de­liver this mes­sage, so do­ing it in mu­sic is free­ing be­cause peo­ple can choose if they want to lis­ten,” he said.

“It's a great plat­form to be un­fil­tered and say what I want.”

Mr Fat­nowna said he did not be­lieve Aus­tralia could rec­on­cile un­til there was un­der­stand­ing and ac­cep­tance.

He said in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties were go­ing through another stolen gen­er­a­tion, with the clo­sure of re­mote com­mu­ni­ties and chil­dren be­ing forced to choose between ed­u­ca­tion and their fam­ily and cul­ture.

“My fa­ther wasn't born a hu­man be­cause in­dige­nous peo­ple were only recog­nised as hu­man in 1967,” he said.

“We've never re­ally ac­knowl­edged it and a lot of non-in­dige­nous peo­ple don't un­der­stand what hap­pened, but be­cause we don't ad­dress it, it per­pet­u­ates.

“Aus­tralians are so pa­tri­otic on An­zac Day and we are so proud of his­tory and con­nected to it, as if we were on the shores of Gal­lipoli, but when we talk about in­dige­nous rights and the Stolen Gen­er­a­tions, we say we didn't do any­thing wrong, so don't worry about it.”

Mr Fat­nowna said he felt priv­i­leged to grow up with a non-in­dige­nous mother and in­dige­nous fa­ther and had no prej­u­dice.

He said for real rec­on­cil­i­a­tion to take place, there had to be ap­pre­ci­a­tion of a dif­fer­ent way of life.

“I want all Aus­tralians to be on an equal play­ing field,” he said. “I think by giv­ing in­dige­nous peo­ple the plat­form to steer the is­sues is a way to move for­ward; they need to be at the fore­front.

“How can you rec­on­cile some­thing you can't com­pre­hend? You need to ap­pre­ci­ate that there are dif­fer­ent ways of life and then we can come to an un­der­stand­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion”

He said his whole pur­pose from his plans to be a doc­tor to his mu­sic was to be a cat­a­lyst for change.

“The po­si­tion we are in is not okay,” he said. “I want to be a spark to help peo­ple come to that un­der­stand­ing.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d456567

UWA stu­dent and singer Ziggy Fat­nowna.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d456567

Ziggy Fat­nowna says there is no rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with­out un­der­stand­ing and ac­cep­tance.

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