Excerpt from Alison Page’s speech to the ANU Reconciliation Lecture as featured in The Country Web Number 59 Spring 2013 edition.
Alison Page is a real dynamo and no doubt has a strong influence on everything she puts her hand to.
An artist, teacher and award-winning designer, Alison is also the Executive Officer of Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance—a group which supports elders to pass on cultural knowledge to young people.
Alison has worked hard to get to where she is and is passionate about sharing her learning and knowledge with others.
When asked who has been the most influential person in her life Alison cites her mother and sisters as being the most influential. She goes on to say,’if you had visited my house growing up and stayed for five minutes you might pass negative judgements on how we were living. A house with a single mother with six daughters you can imagine it got a little crazy! But if you had stayed and heard the conversations around the kitchen table—they were conversations about leadership, about knowing your self-worth and being self-determined.
Regardless of your socio- economic status, empowering your children costs nothing— just time and passion’. Alison says her sister Tina had a massive influence on her younger years in High School. ‘She was a really strong influence on me. She kept telling me to be a leader, not a follower. To ‘swim against the grain’ in public school meant that you could try hard at school, not get distracted by the social scene and set yourself up for the future.
Growing up mum always said, “it’s your attitude, not your aptitude that will determine your altitude”. Skills can be learnt, but what is in your heart, your values, what you believe, this is what guides you in life.’
I spent the first part of my life being ashamed of my Aboriginality, but I now shout pride for my heritage from the rooftops. Butter, peanut butter and vegemite. Yes we are all different shades but we are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are the first people, we are Australian, and we are proud.
To read about how Alison recalls her journey to piece together her own identity go to www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/rwn and click on the link for the latest edition of
The Country Web.