She turned 22 on Christmas Eve and in her young life has achieved a great deal.
She’s sat on the Chief Minister’s round table in the program First Circle, the Youth Advisory Board for Anglicare, is a member of the Arnhem Land Foundation, a former member of Arnhem Land Youth Committee, she was the National Indigenous Youth Parliament representative for the NT in 2014 and will be a mentor for the next reps in 2017.
In July last year, Ineke was invited to Geneva for the Expert Mechanism of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “It was the best experience to listen to other people speak and comparing it to the situation in Australia. Some of the third world conditions they described are happening to Indigenous people in our country.”
She’s danced with Yothu Yindi and East Journey at the National Indigenous Music Awards, been a backup dancer for Jessica Mauboy, and in 2012 she and her mother were amongst the dancers sent to Windsor Castle to dance for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Ineke says that her mother, from who she learned dance, is her role model. “My mother is a member of the Stolen Generation, which I always make a point of mentioning because I find a lot of people think that it occurred many generations ago. But no, it’s affecting so many people to this day.”
As well as community activism and dance, Ineke’s completed a Cert IV in Business, is studying a Bachelor of Commerce and currently works full time at the East Arnhem Regional Council as the Administrator for Executive and Governance.
She says that the turning point in her life was when she changed from being “A naughty kid.”
“Something clicked in my head one day. I was living in a disadvantaged area and seeing how hard it is to live out in community. There’s over 25 people living in most of the houses. I thought, this isn’t okay and they’re changes that need to be made. I’m going to start being a role model for these kids.”
Since then she’s been teaching dance in remote communities, including her hometown of Nhulunbuy.
“It makes me happy. Dance is something that I can project to the youth in a positive way. You can be a leader in the community through dance, cause dance can tell a story if you want it to.”
She says that dance is an important way for Indigenous people to empower themselves, and that dance teaches people, “respect, morals, commitment, time management, happiness and freedom.”
Ineke invites anyone to contact her directly to ask the best places to learn traditional or modern dance in their local area. [email protected]