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In My Blood It Runs

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A young Aboriginal man in blue shirt and dark cap with a security pass around his neck stands in front of a large building. Immediately behind him are several flags on flagpoles.
Dujuan Hoosan at the United Nations building in Geneva, Switzerland (Photo courtesy of Maya Newell)
28 Apr 2020

Learning is easier when we are taught in our preferred language and within the context of our culture and Country.

The documentary film In My Blood It Runs examines the problems faced by Indigenous children when taught entirely from the state/territory education curriculums.

The film’s central focus is 10 year-old Dujuan Hoosan who lives with his family on Arrernte Country on the outskirts of Alice Springs.

‘Dujuan is a child-healer, a good hunter and speaks three languages. As he shares his wisdom of history and the complex world around him, we see his spark and intelligence. Yet Dujuan is ‘failing’ in school and facing increasing scrutiny from welfare and the police.’

The films shows the stark contrast between his behaviour at school and on his ancestral homeland, surrounded by family, and where he is focused, engaged and learning.

Shot over three and a half years, it watches him travel ‘perilously close to incarceration’ and shows his family’s fight to give him a strong Arrernte education alongside his western education…’

‘It’s both nice and a bit scary having a film about me,’ Dujuan said.

‘It’s nice because I am releasing my story to the whole wide world. It’s scary because strangers are looking at my story.’

‘In My Blood It Runs’ was directed by Maya Newell, a documentary filmmaker from Sydney. She moved to Alice Springs to dedicate herself to its production.

‘What we discovered in making it is that they [Indigenous children] are seen as troublemakers and they are put under this two-hard label,’ Maya said.

‘But as our producer Rachel Edwardson, a First Nations filmmaker from Alaska reminds me constantly, "beneath that are incredible, beautiful children who will flourish if we create space in our systems to value and teach their identity and it is kind of that simple."’

Dujuan’s grandmothers Carol Turner and Margaret Anderson were collaborating directors on the film.

They are asking governments to provide what most other children in Australia already have which is education in their own first language and culture.

They ask is it possible to have each nation control and have a say in what kindergarten to university looks like - a massive long-term goal but timely.

In September 2019, Dujuan became the youngest person ever to address the Human Rights Council and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

‘When I finished making the speech everyone in the United Nations clapped. I felt like a show off but everybody was crying around us and I think I did us kids proud,’ Dujuan said.

‘I was proud to go to the United Nations to share things I want to see changed for kids like us. My film is for all Aboriginal kids. It is about our rights.’

Find out more

In My Blood It Runs enjoyed an international debut at Canada’s HotDocs film festival and a very special screening on Arrernte country.

As the director Maya Newell describes it, ‘We started the tour at Hidden Valley Town Camp where there has not been a film screening ever. There was a big open air, inflatable screen in front of the hills where the first scenes of the film show’.

For more information, see https://inmyblooditruns.com/screenings.

It can now be viewed online at vimeo on demand.

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