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7 – 14 July 2024
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Megan Krakouer

National NAIDOC Person Award Category
Megan Krakouer

Megan Krakouer is a Menang Woman of the Noongar Nation. Megan is a renowned activist, prominent social justice advocate and arbitrator for the voiceless, and, law reformer. Megan is the Director of the National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project (NSPTRP), Director (Wagyl Kaip) of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and holds a Bachelor of Laws from Deakin University. Foremost Megan, the 13th child of 13 siblings, praises her late stalwarts, Dad and Mum, for who she is today. Throughout her life, Megan has advocated and fought for those who are most marginalised and vulnerable. Megan’s advocacy is relentlessly aimed at platforming those who are unheard and 'un-listened' to.

Megan says:

My eyes opened to the darkness that can be the world, that can be people, even those who you should be able to trust, when I commenced working for knowmore Legal Service and finished up contributing to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. To ensure voices were heard by the Royal Commission, I visited 27 adult prisons in four States. I also visited more than 30 remote communities. Their stories broke my heart, gave me understandings of mangled lives, shattered spirits. 

Megan took these understandings, alongside her dear friend Gerry Georgatos, who Megan describes as the greatest human rights champion and kindest person she’s ever met, to establish the NSPTRP. This is a testament to Megan’s conviction, heart and dedication to positively help change the narrative for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Megan’s advocacy is wide ranging and truly tireless. Whether she is representing her people as a Director of the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council or advocating for street present homeless children, or orphans in child prisons, or children removed from their families, or people leaving prison, Megan never gives up on changing their lives. In 2019, Megan travelled to Germany to bring home and repatriate to their homelands 42 ancestors, of which 6 were brought back to Noongar homeland. Megan also regularly chairs national suicide prevention conferences, and national forums on the issues the historical and contemporary sins of this nation have drenched so many of our people in to this day. Megan does this to change narratives, to leave no one out of sight, and to not allow the nation absolution until they atone, and atonement will come with equality, that in the very least is defined by the elimination of disparities, and the long overdue providence of parities. Megan was the recipient of the Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights at the National Indigenous Human Rights Awards in 2018. Megan is Perth’s Citizen of the Year 2023.

Megan lived for years, daily, the enormity of premature loss and grief of those of our people left behind by the sins of a nation hurting us as lesser-thans. Megan has supported hundreds of families mourning child suicides, hundreds of mums and dads who could not take it any longer, as Megan often says. That experience led Megan to intensify her journey to focus on keeping children and older living better and kinder lives, in which they can thrive.

With suicide rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the highest they have ever been, and tragically especially high for our children, Megan is emphatic in fighting for more to be done now than ever before. 

Megan argues:

“Someone who can survive an arc of issues; a death in custody, a child removal. Someone who’s gone from being homeless to now securing their own property. Someone who is a mother or father, grandmother or granddad that manages to keep 5, 10, 15, 20 kids out of the system, or if they’re in the system, helping and supporting them. That’s Blak excellence to me. Blak excellence is, in the face of hardships, doing more than what many expect is humanly possible.”

Megan’s indefatigable support for those that are grieving, her care for her people, and her advocacy, seek an end to 'Blak Suffering' - a more humane country – this is a call to action to all:

“Speaking is important, but listening and hearing and acting are more so! I’ve seen too many life support machines turned off young ones before their time! We are not put on this earth to bury our children! We must all do that can be done in the now!”

Megan brought the devastating stories of hundreds of our people to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Megan knew the importance of being heard. Far too many families talk of the suicide of loved ones who wept silent, tears unseen, devastated by child sexual abuse in institutional settings.

After two and half years with knowmore Legal Service followed by working with the Royal Commission, Megan dedicated two more years with the loss and grief effort at the National Indigenous Critical Response Service in suicide postvention.

The suicides of our people on a near daily basis, nearly all of them having been of people who lived below the Poverty Line, very deep in crushing poverty, broke Megan’s heart. Megan's service to the establishing of the NSPTRP (which is currently not - and has never been - funded by any state or federal government) alongside Gerry and a team of First Nations seasoned stalwarts has included the personal benevolence of Megan and Gerry as volunteers for four years, without any remuneration.

There is no greater legacy than to change a life and save a life. Love, kindness does not cost a thing. Megan through the NSPTRP has supported over 22,000 of our people. At this time, the NSPTRP has not lost anyone to suicide. Megan prays this continues. BUT governments must do much more - more than ever before.  Megan argues governments can reduce the abominable suicide rates and toll on our people. Governments claim they invest in suicide prevention and trauma recovery but Megan argues they do not do so appropriately for our people. Megan insists we must never be silent and never compromise our truth-telling. We must all be who we should be, 24/7. We must be loud, proud, relentless. Megan believes we, who now have various agency, must use it to actually leave none of our people behind. 

Video created by Blacklock Media

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