Middle East Naidoc message: Butchulla man says truth is key
FOR Nathan Sandow, the Middle East is a long way from the island, Kgari, his ancestors called home.
The Butchulla man, who grew up in Hervey Bay, celebrated NAIDOC Week deployed as part of Force Support Element 10 (FSE-10) supporting Operation Accordion.
The Warrant Officer has been providing theatre logistic support to sustain Australian Defence Force operations across the Middle East region for the last four months, including Operation Highroad, Manitou and Okra.
As one of 500 Australian Defence Force deployed on Op Accordion, the 38-year-old facilitates the movement and disposal of explosive ordnance in his role as an ammunition technician.
WO2 Sandow enlisted in the ADF at 19 in August 1999 and said at the time there wasn't a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Defence.
"Now we have our mob of indigenous members here, it is our people working with the defence community," he said.
WO2 Sandow said, in keeping with the NAIDOC Week theme 'Voice Treaty Truth', his ancestors did not have a voice, he believes his children will have that voice.
"Everyone needs to talk about reconciliation, from there, we can all work together," he said.
"For reconciliation to work we need to get the truth out there.
"Once the truth is accepted by everyone, then treaty can be added to the conversation."