Tanika Bennell is a Miss Naidoc finalist

Tanika Bennell is a Miss Naidoc finalist

EMPOWERING her people to make the best choices for themselves is what drives Tanika Bennell.

The 30-year-old is a finalist in Miss Naidoc 2019.

It involved participants taking part in a six-week program learning about leadership.

This year’s theme is ‘Voice Treaty Truth’.

Hailing from the Ballardong tribe from the Wheatbelt, Ms Bennell is also a Whadjuk and Yuet woman who is keen to be a positive role model for those struggling with mental health and domestic violence.

See also: Hannah Nelson a Miss Naidoc finalist

“Originally I entered as a bit of a joke; I didn’t think I’d get in but when I did I saw it as a platform to boost my self-|esteem and empower younger women and the younger generation,” she said.

She is studying a double major in community development and writing and plans to use her education to help her people.

She said Aboriginal people still faced racial challenges.

“Things are improving but very, very slowly,” she said.

“There is a lot more room for improvement though.

“It would be nice to be the author of our own stories.

“What I mean by that is healing from trauma and being able to do that in culturally safe places, particularly for our young fellas.”

Learning about leadership gave her an inner strength which has its roots deeply embedded in her culture.

“I just want to work within my community and entering Miss Naidoc is part of that,” she said.

Miss Naidoc 2019 – Voice, Treaty Truth is on tomorrow, May 25, at 7pm and is a prelude to Naidoc Week.

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