Meet Ignatius – proud Bardi, Kokatha, Wajarri and Turpin man, Bachelor of Arts (Law and Society) student, First Nations advocate with a passion to address inequality facing his community.
From the perspective of an Aboriginal individual, my personal journey intertwines ancestral ties, cultural heritage and individual accomplishments. I was raised in Broome and was deeply influenced by the wisdom of Elders and immersed in the awe-inspiring landscapes of Australia. The timeless stories and teachings of the First Nations people played a significant role in shaping my sense of self, fostering a deep reverence for the land, and recognising the interconnectedness of all living beings.
Ignatius says his own experience with the legal system motivated him to pursue a major in Law and Society, after which he plans on undertaking a Juris Doctor.
In the wake of a false accusation, my world turned asunder, exposing me to the harsh realities of legal mistreatment suffered by my community. Despite winning my case, I made the conscious decision to transform this experience into a positive force. Returning to UWA, I delved into the study of law, driven by a passion to be a catalyst for change, combating marginalisation and oppression.
Ignatius says he draws inspiration from his favourite place on campus – Bilya Marlee.
Stepping into this empowering space feels like stepping into a gateway of Indigenous knowledge and community. The greatest power we have is the power to lift each other up. Within the walls of the Bilya Marlee building, I witness this power in action every day. It is a reminder that by uplifting and empowering one another, we can achieve greatness and create positive change within our communities.
Ignatius said this year’s NAIDOC Week theme – ‘For Our Elders’ resonates deeply with him, following the recent passing of his beloved grandmother.
It reminds us of the profound impact our Elders have on our communities and families. They carry wisdom, resilience, and cultural heritage, shaping our paths and providing unwavering support. Their struggles inspire us to fight for equality. Their guidance in land management, cultural practices, and justice shapes our present. The strength of our Elders has been vital for our survival and progress.
Ignatius says through everyday actions, the wider community can become stronger advocates for Indigenous culture and rights.
“Education and Awareness: Take the initiative to educate yourself on the historical and present-day issues affecting First Nations communities.
Cultural Respect and Sensitivity: Approach interactions with First Nations people and their cultures with respect and sensitivity.
Support Indigenous Initiatives: Stand in solidarity with Indigenous-led initiatives by actively participating and lending your support.
Collaboration and Partnership: Seek opportunities to collaborate with Indigenous students, organisations, and community members.”
It is crucial to recognise that our culture, resilience, and achievements should be acknowledged and celebrated every day, not just during a designated week. Together, we uplift and inspire, ensuring that the indomitable spirit of my people continues to shine brightly.