Film: In My Blood It Runs

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Written by Samaritans CEO, Brad Webb

From 7 to 14 July, NAIDOC Week will be celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

Just recently, I was in Melbourne on the land of the Wurundjeri people and had the opportunity to see a preview screening of a powerful new film called In My Blood It Runs.   

Filmed over three years in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Sandy Bore Homeland and Borroloola Community, In My Blood It Runs introduces the audience to 10 year old Dujuan Hoosan, who is given licence to tell his own story by director and producer Maya Newell.   

The title of the film comes from Dujuan himself, and refers to his long, deep, and continuous connection to the Arrernte people of Central Australia. Connected with his culture, you see Dujuan as a powerful young leader, recognised as a child-healer, and holding a clear vision for his future as an Aboriginal man.  

However, Dujuan’s Aboriginality is being buffeted by an education system that labels him as a failing student, and a welfare system that labels his growing disenchantment as delinquency. His future as a proud Aboriginal man is clouded by the prospect of entering the juvenile justice system, where 100% of the children in that system are Aboriginal.  

The film also introduces us to Dujuan’s family – his mother, his father, his grandparents, and the extended family and community Elders who nurture and guide him. As the future for Dujuan becomes increasingly precarious, it is family that supports him to start drawing on the strength and resilience of his people and to reclaim his hopes for the future.  

In My Blood It Runs is raw. In one moment, you can be smiling, even laughing. The next you are filled with rage, and deep sadness. I came to the end of the film feeling deep shame and a profound sense of helplessness. But I also experienced a strong thread of hope and a clear invitation to explore an alternative approach.  

At the end of the film, I stayed to hear a conversation hosted by First Nations Justice Lead at GetUp, Larissa Baldwin, with Felicity Hayes (Executive Producer and Arrernte Elder), Maya Newell (Director and Producer), Jane Vadiveloo (CEO of the ground-breaking Children’s Ground), and Shahleena Musk (senior lawyer from the Human Rights Law Centre).  

In early 2020, In My Blood It Runs will be released to general audiences through cinemas and community screenings, and forms part of an ongoing campaign for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education system, juvenile justice reform and to address racism in Australia.  

As we join together to celebrate NAIDOC Week, and reflect on the 2019 theme – Voice. Treaty. Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future – In My Blood It Runs reminds us of the tremendous knowledge systems of a culture that has 65,000+ years of continuous existence. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people inviting us all to share their wisdom, ideas, and solutions. 

All we need to do to receive these gifts is listen with an open heart and learn with an open mind.  

References:  

Film resource website: http://inmyblooditruns.com/ 

Children’s Ground website: https://www.childrensground.org.au/  

Akeyulerre (The Healing Centre) website: http://www.akeyulerre.org.au/