Monday, July 14, 2014

Ms NAIDOC Day 9 - Jazlie Davis-Grygoruk

Jazlie sent her own profile through, which, as I said, I absolutely love. Why? Because in a world where women are taught to be placid and "modest", I reckon it's pretty damn feminist to take stock and go "you know, I have done some awesome things". And Jazlie most definitely has. Thank you for this fantastic profile, Jazlie. Everyone else, enjoy reading about this "high-flier" ;)

I am a Biripi woman (mid-north coast NSW), a qualified commercial pilot, a wife & mother. I completed my BSc (Aviation) at UNSW, including training for my pilot's license. I flew light aircraft for three years, based out of Galiwin'ku Community on Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land. During this time I flew to every community in the NE Arnhem region, as well as all the surrounding homelands. Seeing our people live on country their way with their law has changed me. The more I learn about Yolngu society/culture/kinship/law, the deeper my grieving for what my own people have lost.

I am a non-religious person of faith, informed by Koori, Yolngu and Christian stories. I am intrigued by spirituality and creation and have completed my GDip in Theology.

I was adopted into the Galpu clan in Galiwin'ku and am semi-fluent in the locally spoken Dhuwal language of the Djambarrpuyngu people. I am a firm believer in teaching and speaking Indigenous language and to this end have completed a GCert in Yolngu Studies through Charles Darwin University, as well as personal study of my own Gathang language (currently being revived by my aunt and a group of strong Biripi people).

My Aussie/Ukrainian husband and I have a 1 year old daughter (best thing I've ever done with my life), whom we are raising in Galiwin'ku (pause here for rant about how denigrating mainstream Australia's attitude toward public breast feeding is for a first time mum - the primary purpose of breasts is to make milk, give me a [*profanity*] break).

I stopped flying when I was 4 months pregnant. Now my partner and I job share, helping to run a grass roots community development project on Elcho Island. Its focus is personal, social and economic enterprise development. We work with Yolngu entrepreneurs and visionaries one-on-one, using language and cultural parallels to help strengthen their capacity to engage with the dominant culture world - always done from a place of strength, grounded first in Yolngu Rom (law/culture). I'm passionate about seeing culture, law and language valued and maintained and hope that our work contributes to the fight against assimilationist policies and attitudes of mainstream Australia.

Having witnessed the destructive effects of oppressive, paternalistic Government policies in remote Indigenous communities, I am now becoming more politically involved as a campaign manager for an independent running in the next NT elections.

Next year I intend on studying law, with a view to exploring solutions to the undermining effect (and resulting social dysfunction) the imposition of Australian law is having on traditional Indigenous law in Arnhem Land.

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