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Saints seek to Recognise Indigenous Australians

Luke Holmesby  May 30, 2014 9:00 AM

(L-R) Cameron Shenton, Arryn Siposs, Sean Dempster, Adam Schneider, Tom Curren and Jack Newnes lend their support to Indigenous teammate Terry Milera (centre) for the Recognise campaign.

(L-R) Cameron Shenton, Arryn Siposs, Sean Dempster, Adam Schneider, Tom Curren and Jack Newnes lend their support to Indigenous teammate Terry Milera (centre) for the Recognise campaign.

The St Kilda Football Club has joined the movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution.

St Kilda players Sean Dempster, Adam Schneider, Tom Curren, Jack Newnes, Cameron Shenton and Arryn Siposs have shown their support by proudly donning the distinctive “R” t-shirts in pledging their support for the Recognise cause.

St Kilda has had a strong connection with Indigenous footballers with 22 Indigenous players representing the club since Jim Wandin played 17 games from 1952-53.

Wandin was the ngurungaeta (head man) of the Wurundjeri people.

[ RELATED: St Kilda's rich indigenous history ]

The Saints were involved in one of the most powerful anti-racism gestures seen in Australian sport when Nicky Winmar raised his jumper in defiance after he was racially abused by fans in a 1993 game against Collingwood.

Current day Saint Terry Milera said he was moved that his club was lending its support to the Recognise campaign.

“I am proud that my Aboriginal ancestry stretches back for more than 40,000 years and I believe it is only fair that it is acknowleged in Australia’s founding document,” Milera said.

“For St Kilda to support that belief by standing behind the Recognise campaign makes me extremely proud to be part of a club that has long been at the forefront of Indigenous issues.”

Recognise is the campaign for all Australians to get the chance to vote to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.

As it stands, the Australian Constitution makes no mention of the first 40,000-plus years of Australian history and the people who forged it.

The Saints’ reconciliation game against Collingwood tonight will be a showcase event of Indigenous round, with the Recognise campaign becoming a strong feature of all nine AFL games this week.

The big R for Recognise will be featured on the grounds of each AFL game and on the cover of the AFL Record.

Recognise spokesperson Tanya Hosch applauded the Saints leadership and support for the Recognise campaign.

“With this backing, St Kilda is showing the way for other institutions and companies to think about how they can be part of this history-making moment for our nation,” she said.