Culture

We Want Our Indigenous Kids To Have Their Own Schools, In Their Own Language

Indigenous kids deserve to know their history, their language, their culture and to know who they are, and where they came from.

In My Blood it Runs

In My Blood It Runs is an observational feature documentary following 10-yr-old Arrernte Aboriginal boy Dujuan as he grows up Alice Springs, Australia.

Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him we see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is “failing” in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police.

In this piece, James Mawson, Dujuan’s father speaks about Indigenous education.


I’m glad there is a focus our Indigenous stories around Invasion Day. But why only now?

We have so many stories about our land, what we face and who we are.  I am very proud of my son Dujuan for trying to tell his story to the world, for making the film In My Blood It Runs and sharing his story at the United Nations and to the world.

My name is James Mawson. Grew up in the Gulf Country of Northern Territory in Borroloola. We have our own cattle station that we live on called Spring Creek. I think it’s pretty special because we own it both ways — white way, as pastural land, and Aboriginal way, as Traditional Owners.

I didn’t know that I was going to be in a movie. But last year, Dujuan came up to live with me ,and his mother said that Maya was following him with a camera and they were making a documentary about him.

I was scared at first, and not sure about being on camera.

But then I got to know Maya and she explained why all the families in Alice Springs were making the film together. They were making it to share my sons story, and the film was a chance to get our story out there.

Our stories are so rarely told. Our kids are so rarely listened to. I wanted to support my son.

Telling Our Stories

I realised I wanted to be a part of the film as well because I think it’s important to show what is happening to us Aboriginals in Australia.

There are a lot of things, for starters what happened to Adam Goodes, what happened in Yuendemu and what happened to the kids at Don Dale. I thought it would help if a few other voices spoke up about how our kids are being treated.

I sat next to Dujuan as he made his speech inside the United Nations in Geneva.

There were about a thousand people, and my heart was beating that fast from the nerves. I explained to him that everyone else was speaking loud and clear into the mic, and he needed to do the same.

When he finished, everyone started clapping out of no where and it made us feel strong. We knew they were listening and it made us feel like we had some power in that moment.

Photo courtesy of Maya Newell

Our Own Schools

In Dujuan’s speech he said “I want my school to  be run  by Aboriginal  people.”

And, while I am bit nervous about speaking out against the Australian Government, I agree with Dujuan. We want to run our own schools in our own languages. We want our kids to know their history, their language, their culture and to know who they are, and where they came from.

We know they need a western education as well. But we all need to come together as one. Right now, our kids only get a western education. In other countries, Indigenous children can be taught in their own language at school.

Our children should have this right too.

All the solutions for our kids come from empowering our people to be in control of their own lives. Right now, it’s not like this in Australia.

It is a privilege to come this far with the film and to write this article. I hope you can keep supporting us long after 26 January. Come see our film in cinemas this February. After it’s done, don’t bother looking for me cause I am going to go back home to hide in the bush.

In My Blood It Runs is in Aus cinemas Feb 20th