As First Peoples of Australia we know that when we, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, lead our work we offer an authentically deep and rich understanding of our culture, history and truths.
In partnership with Good Thing Productions, Culture is Life have developed comprehensive curriculum resources and lead the #MyAustralianDream Campaign to extend the outreach and impact of The Australian Dream film.
The project includes a diverse collective of Aboriginal people, leading and guiding the mobilisation of key themes around Cultural Identity, History and Truths, Racism & Resilience and Reconciliation.
The #MyAustralianDream Campaign was created to give voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a response to the film and the issues, rights and topics raised.
Luke Carroll (Wiradjuri)
Luke Carroll is a proud Wiradjuri man born in Sydney, New South Wales. He is an actor, father, MC, and television personality. Luke began his career with guest roles in Australian Shows like The Flying Doctors, Lift Off, The Man From Snowy River, Ocean Girl and Water Rats. Luke got fame when he acted as a lead role in the film Australian Rules in 2002. For this role he was also nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role at AFI Awards.
Luke has appeared in many TV series and theatre productions. He is a regular host on the ABC children’s series ‘Play School’ and strong advocate and ambassador for many organisations and causes effecting his community.
“Aboriginal people, the First People in this country are the minorities. But we are the longest continuing culture in the world! And we are a proud people, we are a proud culture and we are human beings. And to see Goodesy go through that. He’s a champion on the field and he’s champion off it and he didn’t deserve to go through that.” – Luke Carroll (Wiradjuri)
The Merindas are a Contemporary R&B/Electropop duo who bring a style of rhythmic, expressive and beautiful music dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous language and culture in a modern form.
The Merindas are, Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Islander heritage, born Darwin NT, and Nyoongar Ballardong Whadjuk woman Kristel Kickett, from Tammin WA. Both woman discovered their mutual passion for music in Perth more than 7 years ago. Now based in Melbourne they headline major corporate events, festivals and fashion shows along with supporting some of Australia’s biggest stars.
“My family’s Australian dream would be to pass down our traditions to young ones. And their dream was for the young ones to continue on those traditions to maintain our culture. And I think it would break their hearts if we didn’t do that.” – The Merindas
Chris Johnson (Gunditjmara/Wiradjuri)
Chris Johnson is a proud Gunditjmara man raised in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows. He was a professional AFL player, played 264 games, three-time Brisbane Lions premiership player and Indigenous Team of the Century backman. Chirs managed Indigenous pathway programs for the AFL and is a member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria advocating for Treaty in Victoria.
“#MyAustralianDream would be for my kids to stay connected to their culture, and then be able to do the same for their children.” – Chris Johnson (Gunditjmara/Wiradjuri)
Shantelle Thompson OAM (Barkindji/Ngyampaa)
Shantelle Thompson is a proud Barkindji and Ngyampaa women, three time Jiu-Jitsu world champion and mother of five.
She is also now Shantelle Thompson OAM, having being awarded a Medal in the Order of Australia for services to the Indigenous community of Victoria.
Throughout her achievements Shantelle has strived to share her story and be an advocate for self-determination, mental health and connection to culture. (Source)
“There is so much lying in the DNA of this country that can strengthen us all. We need to empower our Indigenous people and educate our non-Indigenous people to value that.” – Shantelle Thompson OAM (Barkindji/Ngyampaa)
Belinda Duarte AM (Wotjobaluk/Dja Dja Wurrung)
Belinda Duarte is a Wotjobaluk/Dja Dja Wurrung descendant with Polish and Celtic heritage. She is the CEO of the Aboriginal-led non-for profit, Culture is Life and holds a range of appointed and voluntary positions including Director of Western Bulldogs, MCG trustee, member of the Victorian Premier’s Jobs and Investment Panel and board member of the AnnaMilla Foundation. Belinda is a former school teacher and aspires for all people to learn the true ancestral story of this country, and to be proud of the advocacy, the determination, the survival, the practices, and the intelligence of our First People.
“Watching The Australian Dream and witnessing Adam’s journey, it triggered a heap of memories for me. I guess it hit very deep. It hit me at my core. I want people to know our story. #MyAustralianDream is for all Australians to know our story, to know their story, to truly know it, and the impact of that story.
Through the #MyAustralianDream campaign we wanted to let our people’s visions, aspirations, and dreams be told. Thank you to every ambassador, to every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who shared their vision with us.” – Belinda Duarte (Wotjobaluk/Dja Dja Wurrung)
Shelley Ware (Yankunytjatjara/Wirangu)
Shelley Ware is a Yankunytjatjara and Wirungu woman from South Australia. She is an experienced teacher and co-curriculum writer on Culture is Life’s projects, specialising in literacy programs for primary school children. Shelley is a media presenter, writer for an AFL column for the Koori Mail, a well sought after Master of Ceremonies and a regular keynote presenter to corporations and events. Espousing her perspective on females in sport, Aboriginal issues, childhood education and her own journey. She was named the 2019 Fujitsu General Football Woman of the Year. Shelley loves to give back to the community through her passion for helping children be the best they can.
Shelley Ware is Co-Author of The Australian Dream Education Resource.
“It’s really special to me to share our stories, to make sure that they’re being passed on and that we make change in Australia.” – Shelley Ware (Yankunytjatjara/Wirangu)
Uncle Charlie Mundine (Bundjalung)
Charles Mundine is a proud Bundjalung man with ancestral connections across the eastern nations of NSW. He was an electrical mechanic in the armed services for 21 years and has worked with Link-Up, which helps Stolen Generations survivors find their families. Charlie was also a Rugby Union referee and has played many roles in supporting the advancement of Aboriginal people in Australia, including supporting young people through their education and career pathways.
“Watching films like The Australian Dream, it lifts a lot of hurt. Not so much anger but hurt…We’ve got to make sure our young people are still advancing and moving forward. We’ve got to support them in this time of their life, to move to something better.” – Uncle Charlie Mundine (Bundjalung)
Mi-kaisha Masella is a proud Darumbal Murri and Tongan woman who is part of the inner city Aboriginal community of Sydney and the central Queensland Aboriginal community. Mi-kaisha is a social entrepreneur and political activist, regularly featured on SBS, ABC and NITV. She frequently speaks about contemporary issues which impact young Aboriginal people.
Mi-kaisha uses music to engage, inform and incite debate about issues affecting Indigenous people. She uses the medium of song to share strength and hope and celebrate the unbreakable, ancient connections we have with each other and with our culture.
Mi-kaisha is the first Indigenous Australian to be accepted into an undergraduate degree at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University and is the proud recipient of the 2019 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year.
“Watching The Australian Dream was so shocked at what Adam went through, but I also had a sense of pride in the strength of our people.” – Mi-kaisha (Darumbal)
Sydney Stack (Noongar)
Sydney Stack is a proud Noongar man who grew up in Northam, Western Australia. He is a professional AFL player who debuted for the Richmond Football Club at the age of 19. Sydney hopes to inspire other young talents through sport and aspires to work within his community throughout and beyond his AFL career. Sydney believes that every Aboriginal person has a strength within their culture and that his is dancing”. He was the first player to dance the War Cry before the Dreamtime at the G game, held on the 25th May, 2019.
“I believe Australia needs to hear our voice. Yeah, I’ve broken down being racially abused but I believe that Indigenous Australians are stronger than that. It just makes you feel worthless. It really gets you down. It makes you think, why? Why did they say that? I just look at Goodesy and think of how strong he is. Now whenever I feel racism, I continue smiling and tell them that I’m happy and I’m proud to be Black and I’m a proud Noongar from Belden Country.” – Sydney Stack (Noongar)
Nova Peris OAM OLY (Kitja/Yawaru/Iwaitja)
Nova Peris is a proud Yawuru, Kija, Gagadju, Iwaidja woman from The Northern Territory. She has many firsts to her name. She was the first Indigenous Australian and the first person from the Northern Territory to win an Olympic gold medal as a member of the victorious Australian women’s hockey team at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. After her hockey success, Peris focused on running, which saw her become the first Australian athlete to win international gold medals in two different sports.
Nova was the first Indigenous woman elected to federal parliament, elected to the Senate for the Northern Territory 2013. Nova is a staunch advocate for Indigenous and human rights and recently set up the Nova Peris Foundation to continue her impact work and legacy.
“My mum didn’t have freedom, my grandmother didn’t have freedom, we want our children to have better.” – Nova Peris
Mitch Tambo (Gamilaraay)
A proud Gamilaraay man, Mitch blends traditional Aboriginal sounds and language with contemporary beats and production. The multi-talented recording artist first stunned the nation when he performed a spine tingling First Nations version of the iconic John Farnham anthem, You’re The Voice on the 2019 Finale of Australia’s Got Talent. Mitch’s performance was powerful and won the hearts of Australia as well as a host of other countries. (Source)
“I want the world to know about my culture. Our culture needs to be embedded and held in high regards in our country.” – Mitch Tambo (Gamilaraay)
Uncle Tom Calma AO (Kungarakan/Iwaidja)
Professor Tom Calma is an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan (Koong ara kan) tribal group and a member of the Iwaidja (Ee wad ja) tribal group whose traditional lands are south west of Darwin and on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory of Australia, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a local, community, state, national and international level and worked in the public sector for over 45 years and is currently on a number of boards and committees focusing on rural and remote Australia, health, mental health, suicide prevention, all levels of education, culture and language, justice reinvestment, research, reconciliation and economic development. In 2010 after a distinguished career of 38 years in the Australian Public Service Professor Calma retired and currently works as a consultant, volunteer and academic. (Source)
“A mature nation understands the histories, struggles, and the successes of it’s first people. I believe our youth are going to lead us into the future… and make the change that needs to happen.’ Change comes from learning and understanding our histories, struggles and successes and taking action.” – Uncle Tom Calma AO (Kungarakan/Iwaidja)