At this term’s Books and Blokes breakfast, the College hosted Australian journalist Stan Grant as part of Indigenous Culture in the Curriculum Week. Stan is a past Joeys parents as well as a proud Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi man, and his unique insights and character inspired our students, staff and parents.
A journalist since 1987, Stan has worked for the ABC, SBS, Seven Network and Sky News Australia. He is currently the host of the ABC program Q&A and Vice Chancellor’s Chair of Australian-Indigenous Belonging at Charles Sturt University. He has had a varied and successful career and is a highly respected commentator on issues, both local and international. His career has allowed him to travel the world, including to the White House during the Barack Obama administration.
Stan began by encouraging the young men sitting before him to acknowledge and be proud that they are engaging in conversations about culture as well as taking ownership of who they are and where they are from.
He emphasised the significance of having a voice – to use not just to be heard or to make trouble, but to use it to stand up for who you are. He recalled personal experiences where English was the only accepted language; where when the Wiradjuri language was spoken, it wasn’t acceptable or welcome. Today, many people are using their voice to learn and understand the cultural significance of Indigenous language.
Australian Journalist, author and proud Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi man Stan Grant (left) engages in conversation with Joe Boys after his presentation on Indigenous culture and his new book, The Queen is Dead.
“When my father was a young boy, police overheard him speaking in Wiradjuri language and arrested him after they presumed it was offensive language. A whole new generation has now started speaking it again. You are at school to learn how to think. Words matter. Words have power. Words have meaning,” Stan said.
Stan described in detail how Indigenous people continue every day to hope for change. “Hope is not just a word, it’s a verb. You got to do it. If you want to hope, you have to do it”.
Having had three sons attend the College, he was proud to have given them the opportunity to be part of the conversation with a broad range of Australians.
“My boys went to this College. Their friendships will last a lifetime and it gives me hope for the future. My boys have been able to share our language and stand proud as Aboriginal men, taking their place in the world as who they are,” Stan said.
Our Joe-Boys are proud of their cultural heritage and were deeply inspired by Stan.
“You are at school to learn how to think. Words matter. Words have power. Words have meaning,”
Year 8 student Jeremiah Beale Norris, a proud Wiradjuri man, was mesmerised by Stan’s words of wisdom.
“His talk was very meaningful regarding the real history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He spoke well about colonisation, land-taking and the Stolen Generation.
“My dad is also a Wiradjuri man, and he also has a strong sense of culture … always dancing. He got me into corroboree at a young age.”
Stan’s new book, The Queen is Dead, due for release in May, examines the legacy of colonialism for Indigenous people. From publisher Harper Collins: The Queen is Dead carries an urgent, undeniable and righteous demand for justice, for a reckoning, and a just settlement with First Nations people.
With a strong understanding of Indigenous cultural issues, as well as a firm grounding in faith and spirituality, Stan has been a role model for Joe-Boys of all cultures.