John Paul Janke

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Who’s your mob and where were you raised?

I was born in Cairns, North Queensland and am Meriam Mir (from the Torres Strait Islands) and Wuthathi (Cape York Peninsula)

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

I joined the committee in 2012 - so this is my fourth and final year.

What does NAIDOC mean to you?

NAIDOC is about proudly celebrating our cultural survival. Our uniqueness as the oldest continuing culture on the planet, and our 50,000yrs of survival. It’s about sharing our culture, our stories and our proud history and the contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have made to this nation. 

It’s got to be about non-Indigenous Australians saying “Yes… Australia is 50,000 plus years old..not just 245 years old!”

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

Attending local community and family events.

Outside of NAIDOC what are your passions?

Hanging out with my 4 young boys. They both give me stress and keep me stress free with their laughter, tears, stories and hugs.

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

I’ve known Cathy Freeman since she was 14 years old when she stayed at our family house in Canberra as a young girl. I’ve met Muhammad Ali and spent 2 days travelling to Aboriginal communities with my ultimate sporting role model: Sir Vivian Richards.