Teacher's pain: 'People don't think I'm truly Aboriginal'
PROUD indigenous woman and school teacher Cherie Clancy claims racism is still rife in Australia.
As a guest speaker at Cherbourg's NAIDOC celebrations, Ms Clancy shared some of the heartbreaking experiences her family had faced over the years.
"Mum and Dad grew up in Eidsvold. There was segregation when they were there," she said.
The Year 5 teacher at Murgon's St Joseph's Catholic Primary School said her parents faced terrible discrimination when they were growing up.
"They couldn't sit at the movies together. They were different sections," she said.
"They couldn't go to the bar together."
That was in the 1950s and 60s, but Ms Clancy, who was born and raised in Wondai, still witnesses racial discrimination in 2019.
"There is still racism today," Ms Clancy said.
"With my light skin, people don't think that I'm truly Aboriginal.
"I was faced with something last year where I was told my Aboriginality is in my head, not in my heart. I cried actually afterwards."
Ms Clancy shared an emotional and moving presentation at Cherbourg's NAIDOC celebrations.
She said such events formed part of a truth-telling.
"I think it's important everybody knows the truth," Ms Clancy said.
"It's not to assign blame, but to get an understanding of what people go through.
"And that goes down from generation to generation."
During her presentation, Ms Clancy told the crowd about the prejudice her father and many relatives faced when their working wages were kept from them.
"My father is an amazing man, but I see the pain he went through and it's in me, it affects me," she said.
Ms Clancy encouraged both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to educate themselves about the plight of Aboriginal people.
"When people tell me, 'We said sorry, you should be over it' - it's not like that. That's not how it works," she said.
"They need to open up their minds more and get a better understanding."
The school teacher said about 75 per cent of the students in her classroom were indigenous, and teaching them about their heritage was of high importance to her.
"I love teaching about indigenous studies," she said.
"I've been trying to teach them to be proud of themselves and to get rid of this shame thing.
"I've shown them the places I've been and the things I have done and I let them know someone from St Joseph's can do amazing things."