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Aboriginality comes in all shapes, shades and sizes

Left to right: Husdon Shaw, Susan Shaw and Sonny Shaw. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Left to right: Husdon Shaw, Susan Shaw and Sonny Shaw. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

KALKADOON woman Susan Shaw says if you've been brought up to know your culture then you don't have to advertise it in colour or words, you just have to be true to yourself.

Susan was saddened by the comments suggesting Aboriginal model search winner, Baylee Cleland should have been recognised as an Australian model instead of indigenous because of her light skin.

Rockhampton local Susan knows exactly how Baylee and many others feel as she has often had to explain her children or grandchildren's heritage when it comes to being of Aboriginal decent.

Susan said the colour of your skin shouldn't matter as long as you know where you come from.

"Nobody else has any right to tell anybody how they feel or how they think and she (Baylee) understands she is Aboriginal, yeah she might be fairer skin but inside her she has to know who she is and be true to herself," Susan said.

"If I'm not with my kid's people won't think they're Aboriginal… I've got two grandsons as you can see and they are white with red hair but it doesn't matter.

"We know where we come from, we know we're Kalkadoon, we know we're warriors and here we are today but we're still trying to let our children know they are Aboriginal as well."

Susan said the children hadn't really experienced nasty comments because of their fair skin but had received funny looks when people find out the twins, Hudson and Sonny Shaw are in fact Aboriginal.

"Be proud of who you are whether you're Irish, Scottish, wherever you come from be proud of it because me personally I have Chinese, Afghan, Aboriginal, Scottish and white in me so nobody nowadays can say that they are "full bloods" and whether you have fair skin or not you still are Aboriginal." 

Topics:  australian culture culture editors picks indigenous australians racism



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