Jessa Rogers

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Who’s your mob and where were you raised?

My cultural ties are to the Wiradjuri and Darkinjung nations. I was raised in Queensland for most of my childhood, and for a short time in the Northern Territory. I was born in Canberra, and have returned here to my birthplace to finish my western education, to complete my PhD at the ANU.

How long have you been a member of the NAIDOC Committee?

This is my first term on the National NAIDOC Committee. It’s a real honour, as I know how many opportunities being awarded a NAIDOC award allows recipients in giving back to their communities and Indigenous people Australia-wide.

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

NAIDOC means celebrating and sharing our beautiful, strong and resilient peoples, cultures and histories. I see it as “our week” – a week for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to celebrate and share with non-Indigenous people the incredible achievements our people have made both in the past and today.

Apart from the National NAIDOC Ball, how will you be celebrating NAIDOC Week?

I attend local NAIDOC celebrations in the community where I am living. Whether that is NAIDOC on the Peninsula in Canberra, NAIDOC at Cotton Tree on the Sunshine Coast, or NAIDOC at Musgrave Park in Brisbane, I always love getting to the events especially with my two boys. It’s always wonderful to see jarjums celebrating their cultures and growing up strong.

Outside of NAIDOC what are your passions?

I’m a creative artist, so anything artistic. I’ve moved from photography into inkwork. I love contemporary Indigenous art. I draw relieve stress when I am under pressure with work, study and family commitments. It’s a nice way to express myself and get my mind off things for a while. I also play music, dance, and love all types of performance. My other huge passion is Indigenous education for our kids in schools. Especially high school- I loved being a teacher, and before that an Indigenous support officer. It was the best job in the world.

Fun fact – what don’t we know about you?

I love chocolate more than anyone I know. I am a small person, but I can eat an entire block in about two minutes flat. My sister used to save her Easter eggs which would kill me because I had eaten all of mine usually within an hour. Now my kids hide their Easter eggs to stop Mum getting them!