As First Nations & Community Engagement Officer, Little will lead community consultation to ensure LGBTQI+ First Nations voices from around the region are heard and reflected in the work of Mardi Gras. She will also support Mardi Gras’ ‘Always On’ vision to create opportunities to connect, celebrate and uplift First Nations people all year round, no matter where they are.
Matika Little is a proud Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi woman, originally from Wagga Wagga in regional NSW. She is passionate about Indigenous and Queer representation and has championed for her community both through her career in Indigenous education, employment and inclusion, as well as advocacy work through her podcast Coming Out, Blak, public speaking and media work.
“I’m really excited to be joining the team at Mardi Gras. It’s great to be stepping into a role that combines two major parts of my identity and is so interlinked with my passions,” said Little.
“I want acknowledge the trail blazers that have come before me and those who are out in community making waves now. A big focus point for me will be ensuring we have strong relationships with LGBTQIA+ First Nations organisations so we can work together in supporting our community.”
“Our First Nations LGBTQIA+ mob deserve representation and the opportunity to be included in decision making processes. This role is yet another step towards that and the results will see greater First Nations representation and programming for our incredible community,” said Little.
In 2019, Mardi Gras and Sydney World Pride joined to form the First Nations Advisory Committee, the first formal committee to give both organisations guidance on how to celebrate and elevate First Nations LGBTQI+ people, as well as Sistergirl and Brotherboy culture. The First Nations Advisory Committee is comprised of 16 diverse people from across Australia, representing each state and territory.
The First Nations & Community Engagement Officer role and the First Nations Advisory Committee are two initiatives that make up a bigger and longer term First Nations Engagement Program for Mardi Gras. The First Nations Engagement Program’s goal will be to create more development, support and platforms of expression to strengthen the representation for LGBTQI+ First Nations voices.
“Our Australian First Nations people are the oldest continuous culture in the world, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQI+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities have their own distinct voices to share,” said Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger.
“Through the guidance of Matika and our First Nations Advisory Committee, we plan on further building cultural competence and strong relationships between LGBTQI+ First Nations people, our organisation, partners and wider community.”
For more information about Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, visit: www.mardigras.org.au for details.
Image: Matika Little (supplied)