2022 kicks off with Indigenous excellence

It’s only February and Indigenous excellence continues to infiltrate the media, business sectors, sport, the arts, and literary realms.

This year, four First Nations people were among the finalists for the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards. NBA athlete and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man, Patty Mills, who recently competed in his fourth Olympics, was among the finalists. Arrernte woman, Leanne Liddle, was also a finalist, recognised for her advocacy work in justice and leadership. Alongside them, Kombumerri man, Dr Colin Dillon and Palawa woman, Kaytlyn Johnson, were also recognised; Dr Colin for his work around anti-corruption, and Kaytlyn for her tireless work as a youth leader.

In music, The Kid Laroi took out the number 2 spot in Triple J’s Hottest 100, marking the highest-ranking Indigenous artist in the countdown’s history to date. Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal, Zenadh Kes song woman Kee’ahn was announced as the 2022 Port Fairy Folk Festival Emerging Artist of the Year. And rapper and Gomeroi man, Kobie Dee, announced an upcoming free, all-ages tour on his Country. Kobie will tour Gomeroi Country, playing shows in Tamworth, Narrabri, Walgett, Boggabilla and Moree.

Ngarigo woman, Ash Barty continues to dominate in tennis, winning the Australian Open before claiming victory in three Grand Slams. In the literary scene, author Veronica Gorrie took out the Victoria Prize for Literature and the Indigenous Writing Prize for her debut title Black and Blue: A Memoir of Racism and Resilience.

Last month, Arrernte Anmatjere woman, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, died at 85-years-old, leaving behind a remarkable legacy in social work, film, advocacy, and political activism. Aunty Rosalie was just 14 when she starred in the 1955 film Jedda, becoming the first Indigenous female lead in the history of Australian film and television. She will be remembered by many in great respect, as a proud Arrernte Anmatjere woman, and a courageous advocate and pioneer who possessed the utmost generosity of spirit.

Our people have been excelling as athletes, innovators, storytellers, musicians, and artists for millennia. In spite of everything that has been thrown our way, as First Nations people our artistry and excellence continues to take shine across generations.