Trent Nelson

Trent Nelson, Reserved Seat holder representing Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation

Proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta

It’s a pretty big honour to be chosen to represent a campaign called Deadly and Proud, so consider Trent Nelson both deadly and proud.

Mr Nelson was one of 19 Aboriginal people to share their stories and perspectives as Victoria moves towards Treaty.

“Like I said in the Deadly and Proud campaign, I think there’s a lot of groundwork to be done if we’re to bring the wider general public along with us towards Treaty,” Mr Nelson says.

“It’s part of our daily struggle, to be recognised as the First Peoples of this country, but a lot of non-Aboriginal people don’t know or don’t understand about that struggle.”

“Hopefully Treaty will help them see that they should be proud that we’re still here and that we’re still practising our culture and that we want them to be part of that.”

He says in the next 12 months the Assembly must work towards securing the main pillars it’s been tasked with, including the Treaty Negotiation Framework, the Treaty Authority and the Self-Determination Fund.

“If we get those things right then Traditional Owner groups will have the best possible chance of making good Treaties in the future,” he suggests.

Mr Nelson says years of struggle, activism and pride have brought us to this point in history and the resilience of Community will be rewarded with profound life-changing reforms.

“A fairer deal is there for our taking. We just need to stand together with a shared voice and assert our rights. We have the knowledge, we have the answers – we just need the freedom and ability to implement them for our community. That’s what Treaty is about.”

For Mr Nelson the connection to Country runs deep and he sees Treaty as a way to also share an understanding of and care for Country with the whole community.

“I’m fortunate that my work takes me out on Country, I still have that close connection. It gives me strength and replenishes me every time I’m there. We need Treaties to ensure that lifeblood for others is secured for our future generations.”

Inaugural speech