Shannan Dodson

Shannan Dodson

I am a Yawuru woman whom was born in Katherine in the Northern Territory. I am now situated in Canberra.

I am a Yawuru woman whom was born in Katherine in the Northern Territory. I am now situated in Canberra. I have passion, determination and hope in the blood and I know that I have a lot more to give.

I was accepted into a double degree of a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in International Studies) and a Bachelor of Communications in Media/Multimedia Production at the University of Canberra. To assist myself through this, I applied for the Indigenous Cadetship Program and received a position at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. They showed me so much support and I felt extremely honoured to be playing a role in preserving our Indigenous heritage, culture and history.  At the end of my first year of University I was invited to be a member of the Golden Key Society, which is only awarded to students with outstanding academic results.

For the whole duration of my degree I attended the Institute weekly, and worked full-time during my uni breaks. I was allocated to the Audiovisual Archive and would then rotate around to different areas. I had experience in the Access Unit dealing with clients, the Collections Management Unit assisting in cataloguing and restoration and the Moving Images Section, assisting in digitization and film editing. I now have extensive experience in all different areas of expertise, and while studying I was simultaneously gaining experience in the Australian Public Service.

It was one of the best decisions I have made as it helped me to increase my potential and develop interesting and invaluable skills. Through the program I have had opportunities to travel to communities such as Cherbourg, QLD, and Barunga, NT, to help people with their family history through photos, film and sound recordings.

I will never forget my experience at AIATSIS; seeing the faces of people who have seen a picture of their mother for the first time or heard their Grandfather speaking language for the first time is priceless. With a strong interest with my people and their stories, my graduate year project surrounded on making a film about a man of the Stolen Generations.

After graduating I worked at AIATSIS fulltime to save up for a trip overseas. In my travels I was fortunate to be able to attend the International Indigenous Permanent Forum at the United Nations in New York City. After a whirlwind trip visiting around 15 countries I returned home, and realised how strong my connection is to this place, there really is no place like home, especially when Australia is it!

I am currently working at AIATSIS and am inspired by the fact that everyday we are keeping history alive. Along with this, I have also had the opportunity to write articles and take photographs for the Koori Mail. I am also extremely proud as my people; the Yawuru people were recently recognised as rightful Native Title holders in Broome, WA. In the future, I hope to do more in changing people’s opinions and giving the wider community a further insight into my people and culture; as I know we have a lot more understanding to gain. 


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