CQUniversity alumnus advocate for Indigenous communities

[supplied by Central Queensland University]


 Image: supplied

Noonukul Quandamooka woman Sam Cooms started on her career path determined to help her Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) community.

Becoming a mum to children with disabilities upended her world and shifted her focus - but the determined CQUniversity Psychology alumnus and PhD student is still working to advocate for Indigenous communities, and for holistic care for all people with disabilities.

"That’s the way we’re raised – Aboriginal culture is about caring, not just about caring for the environment, but also caring for each other, as custodians, so if one of us do well then all of us do well, and if one of us is suffering, all of us suffer," Ms Cooms explained.

Researching how Indigenous knowledge can inform the disability sector, Ms Cooms is keen to share her journey with others.

“Indigenous values inform both my carer role and my vision for a more inclusive society for people with disabilities – in Minjerribah, and nationally.

"Our Indigenous communities managed and included and were accessible for all people - disabilities, old age, it doesn’t matter, it was inclusive and accessible for all," she said.

"There’s a big push now to learn about Indigenous land management practices…but to be sustainable in the future, it’s not just about taking bits and pieces from our culture, it’s about creating a whole sustainable system, and part of that system is how we care and provide care.

"We need to make Australian society accessible and inclusive, and we need to have a conversation about how that’s going to look - so my learning about Indigenous knowledge around this will hopefully contribute to that conversation."

Sam is part of CQUniversity's First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy, the first of its kind in Australia.


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