The message stick is a simple way of sharing and showing the process of design, which I’d like to develop into bigger projects like a building design.
How would you like to see Traditional Owners celebrated and acknowledged in architectural spheres?
I believe we need to acknowledge and respect that every single mark, every hole you dig, building or intervention in a natural landscape happens on Aboriginal land.
We, as Aboriginal people, are of the land and part of it. We are here to care for it and try and leave country in a better position than we inherited it.
One of my key decisions to choose RMIT for further study was that the University’s Acknowledgement of Country mentions “unceded lands”. This acknowledges the land was never surrendered and is sovereign land that has not been given up or handed over.
I felt this was an earnest and genuine acknowledgement that says something significant, especially given RMIT sits on around six per cent of Melbourne’s CBD.
In the not-so-distant future, I’d love to see crown land such and national parks returned to the traditional owners so that we could continue to practise our culture, and picking some bush tucker wouldn’t hurt either.
What do you enjoy about tutoring other students?
I was born in a very low-social economic area and struggled through school. It’s taken me a life’s worth of reflection and purpose and drive to get to where I am now, and I want to help shortcut that for other young Indigenous people and help bring them through.
I’d really like to give back by mentoring more Indigenous students through architecture and the design process and through community capacity building of the mob.
The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for all of us to continue to seek greater protections for our lands, our waters, our sacred sites and our cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.
Story: Kate Milkins