‘It’s About Being An Inspiration’: Derek Kickett Opens Up About Representation And The Need For First Nations History In Schools

On Tuesday night, the AFL legend opened up to his fellow celebs about his past in the sport, as well as discussing the lack of education around First Nations culture.

In the latest episode of the recently launched jungle podcast ‘Highlights, Happiness and Ham’ hosted by Cal and Dylan, Derek was interviewed about his highlights from his AFL career.

“I remember my first game vividly,” he told the camp, “I was playing for North Melbourne at the time, I was playing against Essendon — Essendon were the favourites — we ended up beating ‘em and I think I played pretty good,” he humbly admitted.

During the game Derek said he remembered stopping and looking around the MCG, almost not believing where he was for a split second.

“I’ve always got a motto, when I was playing footy I’d go: You’re playing for your club, and you’re representing your people. It’s not about me, it’s about me being an inspiration for my mob and for my people to say ok, Derek can leave a small country town to make it in the AFL, anyone can do it,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Dylan and Derek sat down to speak more about his mob. The proud Noongar Ballardong Maarman sat with Dylan and explained how vastly different dialects can be within the clans of the Noongar nation.

After Derek had given Dylan some basic understanding of the differences in First Nations language, Dylan was shocked asking, “How come I don’t know all this?”

“It’s never been taught,” Derek replied.

Later, Dylan reflected, “In the ‘80s when I was going to school our Australian history was all white Australia history, were didn’t learn anything about our First Nations people. I’m a bit embarrassed about that.”

“That’s part of history,” Derek added, “That’s part of history… you can’t deny it, you can’t hide from it.”

Dylan questioned what could be done to ‘make things better’ to bring an awareness and increase in education around First Nations people, history and culture.

“It’s got to be taught in schools,” Derek said, adding, “and also the Government has to acknowledge and say yeah, we know that we stuffed up. We made the mistake, we had all this policy, genocide, we tried to wipe out the Aboriginal people. It’s a long way out.”

Having spoken to Derek, Dylan reflected on the chat saying, “The conversation has to be started. It’s not First Nations people’s job to fix the mess that we’ve made. It’s our job.”

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs Sunday to Thursday at 7.30 on Network 10 and on demand on 10 play