Adelaide football great Eddie Betts was just 15 when he moved to Melbourne from Port Lincoln, South Australia, to pursue his AFL career. Hawthorn legend Cyril Rioli was 14 when he left his family in Darwin.
They are among many Indigenous players in Australian football who have covered great distances – moving thousands of kilometres, often as teenagers, for a shot at the big time.
Not all make it. Sometimes the separation from kin and culture is too much.
It’s not just a predicament for those with a chance to be a sporting star. Many Indigenous people in regional and remote Australia face a hard choice between their mob and a job.
What price would you put on leaving your family, community and other things you value? How good would a job have to be to make it worthwhile?
This a dilemma for those who make and administer the policies and programs intended to “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.
Indigenous people don’t necessarily see the benefits of working being worth the required costs the same way as non-Indigenous people. Any policy that doesn’t account for this crucial human factor is probably doomed to fail.
Read the full article on The Conversation.