People’s contributions change culture

BJ Cruse at Jigamy Farm Eden during 2018 NAIDOC Week celebrations.
BJ Cruse at Jigamy Farm Eden during 2018 NAIDOC Week celebrations.

For BJ Cruse, NAIDOC Week is the perfect time of year to express his philosophy of contributions from the Aboriginal Australian people. 

Through the history of NAIDOC, Mr Cruse said he has learnt contribution is an important part of Aboriginal Australian culture that needs to be rebuilt.

“You can spend all your life and only learn one thing, and what I learnt is contributions. When our system was broken down and government denied Aboriginal people from having a say, what that did was stop Aboriginal people from making a contribution,” he said.

Mr Cruse said his people were never granted wealth for their contributions like society does today.

“In our tribe there was no granting of wealth for doing something, what you got was elevated in the tribe through honour – honour and shame regulated our people’s lives,” he said.

Mr Cruse said he attended political meetings since he was eight years old. He is the chairman of Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council and strives to instill positive aspects of Aboriginal Australians to the youth, through story telling and education programs involving schools of the region. 

In order to see change he aims to see reconciliation between Indigenous people and the Australian government.

“At the end of the day, what we really want is true reconciliation and we want to be free of government welfare and doubt orientation.”

“We want to have self determination, self management and we want to be self efficient in the social economy for our people.”

Mr Cruse believes that Aboriginal people were taken from a positive position among their people as the ultimate contributors to then a position of being detrimental in society.

“I believe that Aboriginal people need to be put back in the position of making greater contributions – because if we make greater contributions and those contributions are seen, then they will be felt and we will no longer be seen as detrimental.”