Asked about reconciliation in Australia, Shellie Morris talks about the importance of education for all Australians. But, what is truly important to her are the connections and relationships fostered on your journey of life.
Shellie’s balance and honesty are what make her so unique. The true meaning of a solid relationship is what she values. “In Aboriginal culture, you are important because of your relationships and friendships and how you fit into the system. That’s what’s beautiful to me,” she says.
Shellie Morris is a Darwin-based, Australian Aboriginal singer, songwriter who grew up in the Sutherland Shire in Sydney. She was adopted out at a young age to Ian and Dorothea Dixon and never met an Aboriginal person until she was in year nine at school. Thirteen years ago, Shellie re-connected with her family who are from Kakadu, Katherine, Borroloola and across Arnhem Land. She maintains a very close relationship with her adopted parents who reside in Coffs Harbour and who recently came to see her perform her powerful acoustic ballads at the 2011 Saltwater Freshwater Festival in Port Macquarie.
As a featured artist with the Black Arm Band, a collaboration of Australia’s top Indigenous artists, Shellie has travelled throughout Australia and the world with her music. She encapsulates and inspires those who listen.
She enjoys her work with Indigenous communities and youth throughout Australia empowering young kids to share their stories. Shellie is an ambassador for the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Jimmy Little Foundation. This is the stuff she is incredibly passionate about. She believes, “every young person has something to say. Not everyone is going to be a singer, but everyone has something to say.”
Shellie maintains, a good education either through music, the classroom, family and all that encompasses life is essential. She is extremely passionate about this: “The truth is, it needs to be education” for a reconciled Australia. “With an education people can make their own valid decisions which give them directives for decision making.” To Shellie, the little ones need to be taught Aboriginal studies in schools as part of the curriculum and then people can make their own choice, and it is an informed choice.
Ending the disparity in Australia is a responsibility for all of us. “We’re all in it together and we are all making it together,” she says. “It will take each and every one of us, little by little. We can all do something.”