Uncle Greg Simms
My name is Uncle Greg Simms and I am known as an activist for reconciliation, a traditional woodcarver, a storyteller and an Aboriginal cultural educator.
My ties to the Aboriginal community of Greater Western Sydney are through my ancestral links to the Gundungurra (Water dragon Lizard people) of the Blue Mountains and the Gadigal (whale people) of the Darug nation.
I grew up in La Perouse and now live in Greater Western Sydney, and I am a a Community Liaison Officer with Ability Options providing employment services specifically to Aboriginal people with a disability or health condition.
I believe La Perouse public school is where reconciliation started, back in the 50s. I remember one time cousins of mine wanted to wag school and asked me to join them. Sitting down there were black fellas, and white fellas, it was all mixed. They could see the smoke from the school and the principal told a couple of teachers to go down and see what's going on.
I'm not just an Aboriginal Elder but I'm also an activist. An activist in reconciliation.
I'm now also one of the Elders on campus at UWS. It only started last year and there are about 15 or 18 of us. The beauty of it is we all come from different tribal backgrounds, different language areas. We don't just see people from our circle, you're part of us too you know, part of our heritage and culture. We're all one mob.
I'm not someone who'd say to a white person that you're too white to be black. A lot of black people say that and I find it very disturbing. You're too white to be black. But you know, if you made yourself a cup of coffee no matter how much milk you put in that coffee it's still coffee. We need to do the work as one lot of people, black or white.
The Elders on Campus, we are the mentors, not just for our students just coming on campus, but we're also and mentors for lecturers, because they don't have it all. No matter how educated you are, if you learn a little bit about us, then you'll benefit from that. Teaching is never going to become a one way street; it's always been two way.
You know a lot of the white people nearly died in Western Sydney. The Aboriginal people came to their aid with fresh water, fresh meat and lettuces and special leeks to heal a bad wound. They nursed these white people back to health, otherwise they would have died. That's why I tell people there're two books sitting out there, there's a book on white Australia, Western Sydney early settlers, but in that book you might not read a story about the black man, he's not included in the story, it was a white man's story. So that's a one way street. But if we pick up the Darug book, which is oral history that tells you what had happened years ago, there's a balance because we have black and white people in that book.