Deadly Yarns - Jayden's story


​​​Year 12 student Jayden Elder hopes to go to university and one day return to 
St Peter Claver College as a sports teacher

St Peter Claver College, Riverview, Year 12 student Jayden Elder is a proud young Aboriginal man. He has grown up surrounded by the stories of his family's history and cultures. Currently he is Captain of the college's Xavier House and hopes to go on to university and one day return to St Peter Claver College as a sports teacher. This is his story:​

"My Dad is Bwgcolman from Palm Island and my Mum is a Quandamooka woman from Stradbroke Island. 

My great-grandmother was born in a creek bed in Boulia and was taken from her family to Palm Island. 

Her daughter (my Nan) Priscilla Valmae Stanley, was born on Palm Island and taught the different ways of working.

She is still traumatised and has been through a lot, including heart attacks and life-threatening injuries, but she is still with us.

Nan is the most resilient person I know.

My Nan lives only a few streets from me, so I drop in to see her regularly, usually on the way home from footy training – I love my rugby league!

Nan has encouraged me to continuously learn more about my cultures.

She is inspiring.

I think NAIDOC is about bringing our cultures together for the week, celebrating our diversity, our histories and First Nations Peoples accomplishments.

This year’s NAIDOC theme: Always was, Always will be, makes me think of how I am a part of the oldest surviving cultures in the world, which is something I am proud of.

It also is a reminder that it always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.

To be a custodian of the land, is to be a carer of the land.

It means we must strive to live the way our ancestors have taught us.

It is important that the younger generations continue to be custodians of the land.

What is my hope for the future?

With everything that is happening in the world, with the Black Lives Matter movement and the terrible statistics of the numbers of Aboriginal people in custody in Australia – my hope is to play a part in changing the statistics.

It is time to draw a line and close the gap between the lives of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Australia.

Stan Grant, the journalist, said an Indigenous child was more likely to get locked up than finish secondary school.

This fact really hit home to me because I am in my last year of high school. I want more First Nations people to be as lucky as me, and less to be incarcerated.

There are some simple actions that would be good for schools and workplaces to build understanding – like having cross-cultural activities so we can appreciate each other more.

I suggested to my teacher that we should learn more about Aboriginal Languages at school, the other students thought this was a great idea too.

I’m proud of my involvement with Rosie’s, an organisation which helps homeless people living on the street.

I am also proud of my school and the education I have received at St Peter Claver College.

I am aware that I am lucky that my parents are in the position to send me to this school.

My education and school have helped shape me for life’s journey.

With my education and understanding of my cultures, I know how I want to live my life and the positive influence I want to have on others."

Jayden Elder's story is the first in our Deadly Yarns series developed by the Brisbane Catholic Education NAIDOC working group in the lead-up to NAIDOC Week celebrations from November​ 8-15 .

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