10 First Nations Women who inspire us


The power and influence of women rises more and more each day. To mark International Women’s Day, we thought it would be worth giving a shout-out to some kick-ass girl bosses that have played a huge role in our past and present.

In a world where most of our history has been looked through a male lens, we believe it’s important to celebrate the marvellous achievements of the wonderful women around us. So naturally, Yeah Boy have listed ten First Nations Women who inspire us every day. Whether it be through their art, sport, passions or teachings, these resilient, talented and empowering First Nations women have challenged and smashed social constructs. To put it simple – they are superheroes for young girls of today & tomorrow!

Let’s get into it! #girlpower!

1. Tanna @teachingwithtanna

We all need a Tanna in our lives! Tanna is the founder of ‘Teaching with Tanna’, which is a very uplifting resource to come across. Alongside captivating Indigenous art and educational visuals that appear on her Insta-grid, Tanna’s passion to educate Indigenous history is nothing short of inspiring! We absolutely admire her love for teaching and spreading awareness!

Tanna’s teachings encourage us to respect, learn and care for First Nations history, cultures and perspectives all year round, not just on Australia Day. She also encourages us to simply listen, absorb and acknowledge the ways in which we can support Indigenous cultures. 

As a full-time secondary teacher who works in Naarm, Wurundjeri Country, Tanna never fails to provide handy educational resources and tips to become respectfully aware of what’s happening within Indigenous communities. 

Not only this, but Tanna has uploaded a range of FREE digital teaching resources on her website, that you can access with the click of a button! 

What a legend – We neeeeeed more people like this!

SOURCE: @teachingwithtanna on Instagram

2. Allira Potter @allira.potter

Allira Potter is a vibrant human being that we all need in our lives! Allira is a proud Yorta Yorta woman, a trained reiki practitioner, intuitive reader, energy healer, author, life coach and meditation guide!

With this Geelong legend, you’ll find yourself immersed in her tasks, tools, techniques and a few witchy rituals to help you bring in your most abundant life ever. See for yourself in her debut self-help book; Wild & Witchy, which delves into ‘self-love, manifestation and sassiness’.  

Also – not only is she (literally) the nicest person you’ll ever meet, but she absolutely SLAYS the self-love game. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

If you’re in search of a daily dose of wholesome content – @allira.potter on Instagram is the way to go!

SOURCE: @allira.potter on Instagram

3. Laura Thompson @clothingthegaps

If you haven’t heard of this legend, now you have. 

Laura Thompson is not only a Dhauwurd Wurrung woman, but is alsthe co-founder of the Indigenous fashion line, ‘Clothing The Gaps’! Clothing The Gaps is a Victorian and Aboriginal-led fashion label that celebrates Aboriginal people and culture. Obvi a play on words for ‘Closing the Gap’, this social enterprise aims to help close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It is also co-founded by Sarah Sheridan (non-indigenous).

Their online profile is a safe Blak space that provides insight and support to Indigenous communities. It also acts as an educational platform that simultaneously influences and unites people through fashion, so that Indigenous people and communities can thrive. 

What a legend!

You can support this awesome cause by purchasing their merchandise online at: https://www.clothingthegaps.com.au/collections/shop-for-everything !!

SOURCE: Getty Images

4. Ash Barty @ashbarty

By now, you would probably recognise Ash Barty as an Aussie sports superstar and household name. Not only is Barty the 2022 Australian Open champion, but she is also ranked World No. 01 in Women’s singles in tennis, a 3-time grand slam champion and has a successful history in the Women’s Big Bash League (yep, in cricket)!

We find Barty inspirational not only for her incredible sporting skills but also for her humble and down-to-earth nature. Ash’s calm good-humoured acceptance of just missing out on the 2019 Wimbledon quarter-finals made her fans all over the world smile. To put it shortly – our girl Ash simply has an awesome attitude! 

Barty is the first Indigenous Australian Woman to win the Australian Open since Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s win 44 years ago! As a First Nations woman, Ash also serves as the National Indigenous Tennis Ambassador for Tennis Australia. 
Did we also mention Barty was titled ‘Young Australian of the Year’ in 2020?
What doesn’t this 25-year-old legend do?! We are officially inspired.  

SOURCE: @ashbarty on Instagram

5. Rachael Sarra  @sar.ra__

If you want to view art that inspires you, you have come to the right place m’friends! Rachael Sarra is a beautiful Goreng Goreng artist and businesswoman who uses her creativity as a dynamic tool to explore the occurrences happening in our world. As said on her website – “Rachael’s work often challenges and explores the themes of societies perception of what Aboriginal art and identity are.” 

Sarra’s experiences and beliefs are also key catalysts that have helped create her mesmerising artworks filled with dots, lines and vibrant colours. It is through this we see her Indigenous roots shine gracefully.

Whether we spot Sarra’s beautiful art on her Instagram page, in KMART, or even on top of Lush Australia products, her distinctive art identity, talent, stunning use of colour and hard work always makes us smile! 

Our obsession with Sarra’s effortless artistic flair will never end! 

SOURCE: @sar.ra__ on Instagram

6. Gladys Elphick

Gladys Elphick was a Kaurna and Ngadjuri First Nations woman, best known as the founding president of the Council of Aboriginal Women of South Australia between 1964 and 1973. Elphick worked hard to raise the status of Indigenous Australians in the then-discriminatory community, giving her the nickname of ’Aunty Glad’ due to her maternalistic and protective nature. 

Elphick’s lifelong work against the racism and exploitation of Indigenous people included her formation of the Aboriginal Women’s Council, a legal aid service, medical service and the Aboriginal Community Centre in Adelaide.  

Not only was Elphick voted as a Member of the Order of the British Empire on 1 January 1971 for services to the Aboriginal community, but she was also named ‘South Australian Aboriginal of the Year’ in 1984, during National Aborigines Week!
What a woman!

SOURCE: SBS.com.au

7. Yatu Widders-Hunt @ausindigenousfashion

If you’re looking for a profile that has all the latest trends & updates within the thriving Indigenous fashion community – this is it!

Yatu Widders-Hunt is a proud descendant of the Anaiwan & Dunghutti peoples from North-Western NSW. It is through her social media profile ‘Australian Indigenous Fashion’ that Yatu dedicates herself to celebrating the wonderful achievements of those in the First Nations community, and highlights the beauty of Indigenous art!
Love love love!

SOURCE: @yatuwiddershunt on Instagram

8. Melissa Barton @alkiira.indigenous.art

Melissa Barton is a contemporary Aboriginal artist living in Dharawal Country, in the Macarthur region of Sydney. Melissa is a proud Boorooberongal clan woman of the Dharug nation. 

With her intuitive techniques, Melissa creates intricate and eye-catching works of art. Just like her ancestors for generations, Melissa explores creative storytelling through her art. We mean, it takes a pretty talented and creative human to splash immaculate stories and meanings onto the canvas! We absolutely adore the femininity that is exhibited through all her art, which is highlighted by the use of organic colours (such as white, pink, brown and green! )

As said on Melissa’s website – “All creations are named in traditional Dharug Dalang (language). Keeping this vital part of culture alive is crucial and will ensure that the generations of Dharug people to come will continue to have important connections back to our sacred ones.”

Oh, did we mention Melissa also hand-paints sneakers and serving boards?! Yes, please!
We can’t wait to see more of Melissa’s artwork in the future! Go, girl!

Source: @alkiira.indigenous.art on Instagram

9. Faith Thomas

Faith Thomas is an Aussie legend you may or may not have heard of.  
Faith Thomas is a real trailblazer – you could say she paved the way for incredible athletes such as Ash Barty and Cathy Freeman. She was the first Indigenous Australian to represent Australia in any international sport! With this, Thomas was among the first batch of Aboriginal college graduates in Australia, and one of the first Aboriginal nurses in the 1950s. Yep, she’s the real OG!

For Thomas, cricket was simply a fun game to play. In 1958 she was selected for the Australian National team and it was here she played her only international match against England. Not only this, but until 2019, Thomas was the only Indigenous woman to play test cricket for Australia!

 She was offered to continue her sporting career after her success in her first (and only) International match against England, however, with her dream to become a nurse taking priority, she played her final domestic game in 1958!
What an icon!

SOURCE: South Australian Cricket Association

10. Samantha Harris @sam_harris

Samantha Harris – what a babe.  
Samantha is one of Australia’s most successful models. The Yorta-Yorta woman started her modelling career at the age of 13 and was featured on the cover of Vogue Australia at the age of 18, making her the second Indigenous Australian woman to do so! 
However, this is not the only reason why Sam inspires us. Her passion for stamping out racism, empowering young Indigenous Australians and trailblazing change through the fashion industry is nothing short of breathtaking. 

Through her entire modelling career, Sam has demonstrated that beauty is not skin deep, it is instead a matter of how we embrace our unique differences! In numerous interviews, Sam has taken pride in the fact that she is not the cliched stick-thin model, but rather a real woman who others can look up to, and simultaneously help change the portrait of Australia’s fashion industry. 

“We’re all special and unique in our own way,” she says. “And we’re all beautiful. I hope that I encourage young people to be happy with who they are as we are all different shapes and sizes. There is no ‘right shape’ and I am proud to have been a part of the change in the way that people perceive models. 

Sam is the ambassador for many products and organisations such as Biology Smart Skincare, Jeuneora skincare from New Zealand, World Vision, Barnados (a charity to help keep children safe from abuse and neglect), the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence.

Yes, yes, yes!

SOURCE: Daily Telegraph
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