Celebrating NAIDOC Week 2018 #BecauseOfHerWeCan
Walking between worlds is something many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do, and the strength, clarity and sense of self gained from one, informs the other.
Meet Sam Wild, proud mama, daughter, granddaughter, health and wellbeing advocate and change-maker. Sam is a Wakka Wakka and South Sea Islander woman and wears many hats professionally.
Driven by seeing her father and grandmother suffer chronic, preventable illness, Sam headed on her own path in the health sector and was the first in her family to go to university.
“They were too young to pass,’ says Sam.
“Mum picked me up and carried me through this dark time, otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Sam is clear that without the strength of her mother and grandmother she’s not sure where she’d be.
“My grandmother was a significant influence on my childhood. She was the matriarch: strong and influential both on a personal and cultural level,” says Sam.
“She showed me—and others—about walking between worlds. She played darts like a ninja, worked in the local op shop and was an active community member, known by everyone.”
Sam grew up in Hervey Bay and recalls the family gatherings organised by her grandmother that took place often over the course of a week.
“There were hundreds of family members from across the east coast. As kids we had so much fun with our cousins playing, swimming, fishing and helping out with the food.”
Sam now has a 10-year-old daughter, who she says also is learning to walk both worlds. Like many girls her age, the lure of the digital world calls, yet Sam is adamant she has time on Country to embed cultural relationships and responsibilities.
“It’s very different for little girls now,’ says Sam.
“I feel privileged to have the freedoms we do and to share this culture with her. On country, there’s no distractions; it’s just you and the country.
“She’s learnt the Wakka Wakka dance, we sing traditional songs, learn about the animals, spirituality and creation, and just absorb our heritage. It’s soul medicine this time together.
“Along with Mum, I’m blessed to have lots of Aunties, sisters and tiddas. We look after and strengthen each other by connecting with our tribe and identity.
“Aboriginal women are formidable, powerful. We must lead the way and walk both worlds together.”
Learn more about NAIDOC Week.