Leading the way for Indigenous youth

During National Reconciliation Week, Lance Corporal Colin Rogan reflects on what reconciliation means to him.

Leading the way for Indigenous youth

A desire for “stability and a future” in his career led Lance Corporal Colin Rogan to join Army in 2002.

“When I enlisted, I was able to draw on the resilience and adaptability my Aboriginal culture provided me growing up,” Lance Corporal Rogan said. 

When it comes to reconciliation, Lance Corporal Rogan feels strongly about youth diversion, to keep young Indigenous people productively focused.

“If there were bodies of businesses working together to create programs for our Indigenous youth, it would be a start to prevent them from getting into trouble,” Lance Corporal Rogan said.

“It firstly shows there are opportunities for them to get work and gain real employment.

“In turn, you’re providing economic advancement for that individual.”

Lance Corporal Rogan feels a good avenue for Defence and other businesses to tap into would be the land and sea ranger groups.

“A lot of people in these groups work part time and could possibly join Defence in a reserve capacity with the Regional Force Surveillance Group,” he said.

“A lot of them already have their coxswain tickets and computer skills.

“Vice versa they could come over to Defence and pick up skills to take back to the ranger groups.”

Closer to home, Lance Corporal Rogan is making sure his kids learn about their culture as Aranda people.

“My grandmother was part of the stolen generation but she still tried to raise us with our culture and I want my kids to know it too,” he said.

“She was taken to Croker Island and was there in 1942 when the Japanese bombed.

“All the kids had to be evacuated from the island and there has been a documentary produced about it.”

In 2016, Lance Corporal Rogan attended the 50th anniversary of the Wave Hill walk-off at Kalkarindji. This was the first protest by Indigenous Australians over land rights to attract wide public support.

“This showed we are in it together and that Australia has made progress in the past 50 years towards reconciliation of Indigenous people,” Lance Corporal Rogan said.

“There is still work to be done but the whole of Australia needs to work together with where we want to be 50 to 100 years from now.”


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