Deployed a long way from K’gari
The Middle East is a long way from the lush tropical island Warrant Officer Class Two Nathan Sandow’s ancestors called home.
He is a Butchulla man and his tribe inhabited Fraser Island, or as they called it, K’gari, which means “paradise”.
Warrant Officer Sandow is currently deployed as part of Force Support Element 10 supporting Operation Accordion as an ammunition technician, facilitating the movement and disposal of explosive ordnance.
“When I enlisted, there weren’t a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Defence,” he said.
“Now we have our mob of Indigenous members here, it is our people working with the Defence community.”
Warrant Officer Sandow said Defence was focused on cultural diversity.
“Everyone needs to talk about reconciliation, from there, we can all work together,” he said.
NAIDOC Week, with the theme “working for a shared future’” is a chance for all Australians to celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Nathan said his ancestors did not have a voice, but he believed his children would have that voice.
“For reconciliation to work we need to get the truth out there,” he said.
“Once the truth is accepted by everyone, then treaty can be added to the conversation.”