From Executive member to Staff by Cienan Muir

10.07.19 SHARE

From Executive member to Staff by Cienan Muir

Cienan Muir

Cienan holding up a clipboard

When I was eight years old I experienced my first confrontation of racism. My mother and I were living in a country town at the time, a town notorious for its racism. I remember feeling more sad and frustrated than anything else, because I just wanted to be accepted for who I am, and racism acts to make some feel excluded, an outlier, not belonging.

I attended the very first Koorie Youth Summit in 2015. I attended with a full suit, complete with tie, I would soon find that it WAS NOT a formal wear setting, attending the very next day in a more casual attire.

The Koorie Youth Summit was my introduction to revolutionary thought and the creativity of what it means to be Aboriginal, showing me it’s very different to so many people. It illustrated the natural resilience and determination that exist in my community, something that can be seen throughout history going back to our ancestors, our grandparents, our mothers and fathers.

I would later be selected to be a Koorie Youth Council Executive member, a position I was honoured to take up. During this time I could practice my facilitation skills, MC skills and be provided with a platform to meet some truly amazing peers, whom I still keep in touch with.

I was employed at the Koorie Youth Council as the Senior Project Officer in early 2017, where I took over from the amazing Elisha Douglas, for whom I will always thank for the work she has done to ensure the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are heard.

I have now run the past three Koorie Youth Summit events, continuing the presence of this platform and what it means for so many young people around Victoria. The platform to ignite a passion in so many young people is something that is rarely made available, but the Koorie Youth Council provides this and everything that a young person will need to attend the Summit, from regional flights, train/bus travel, accommodation to meals, bedding and amenities.

This job, this team, is not just another job, you must be passionate about what you are doing and you must be dedicated to ensuring our voices as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are heard and felt.

This is not to say that working in an atmosphere such as the Koorie Youth Council is all easy. It is important to understand the definition of healing, for yourself and your spirit. As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, we have to also deal with the effects of cultural loads, generational trauma, lateral violence, community politics and the stress and anxiety associated with racial vilification, comments and verbal abuse.

The Koorie Youth Council and the Koorie Youth Summit have helped me on my personal journey, navigating my emotions in myself to grow resilient, more secure in my personality and find my unique path in healing and dismantling the concept of shame.

Cienan Muir is a Yorta Yorta/Ngarrindjeri man, the Senior Project Officer for the Koorie Youth Council, and Australian Director of Indigenous Comic Con. Cienan started his own business, IndigiNerd, which looks at pop culture event creation for our community. He is a Nicholls on his mother’s side and Muir on his father’s side, two strong families, who have been at the forefront of Aboriginal civil rights.

Cienan is passionate about representation in the popular culture arena for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the Indigenous gaze over content creation within the popular culture space from our communities. He believes popular culture provides a platform to allow creativity and alternative narratives to be expressed subjectively, these expressions commonly dealing with factors such as racism and respect.