Aboriginal rugby coach Jarred Hodges has boycotted the term 'Indigenous'
We can't win. Australians have been told in recent decades that "Aborigine" is wrong and "indigenous" is correct. But now it is "First nations"
Amusingly, both "Aborigine" and "indigenous" are Latin rather than native words. And the word "nation" in "First nations" is also from the Latin.
When I was growing up many decades ago, we just used to call them all "boongs", (pronounced as in RP "book") which, rather surprisingly, is an Aboriginal name for themselves, a tribal name. My Kuranda relatives used to refer to them as "Boories", which was the local tribal name in the Kuranda area
After being put in charge of a fledgling program to discover Indigenous playing talent this year, Hodges sent a timely message to mainstream Australia in naming it.
Instead of using the "Indigenous" tag, he called the talent-spotting rugby sevens program "First Nations", to create a more inclusive feel to what is an important program for the sport.
"The 'First Nations' term not only recognises [Aboriginal] people as the sovereign people of our land but it also recognises the unique language groups and sovereign nations that exist," Hodges said.
Hodges says the idea to call the program "First Nations" came to him after seeing how some other countries celebrate their traditional owners, using a similar term.
"Canada is probably one of the leaders around the world pushing for the rights of native people and acknowledging the differences that exist," he said.
"The word 'Aboriginal' or 'Indigenous' just brackets everyone but we know we have differences. "There are over 250 nations and language groups across the country. "We have got saltwater people, we have got desert people, we have got freshwater people, for example."