Cooper Craig-Peters is proud of his Aboriginal heritage

June 16, 2020

Old Collegian Cooper Craig-Peters (SPC 2014-19) is extremely proud of his Aboriginal heritage.

He was part of the Western Bulldogs’ very first Nallei-Jerring Koori Youth Leadership program in 2013 and then went on to participate in the Youth Leadership Project and the Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy.

Cooper Craig-Peters. Image courtesy of the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation.

Cooper penned this moving account about his culture recently during Reconciliation Week for the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation.

“My name is Cooper Craig-Peters I am 18 years old. I’m from Ballarat and I belong to the Yorta Yorta – Wurundjeri mob. I was part of the very first Western Bulldogs Nallei-Jerring Koori Youth Leadership program back in 2013. I also went on to do the Youth Leadership Project (formerly the Whitten Project) and took part in the Club’s Next Generation Academy.

I am extremely proud of my Aboriginality. Growing up my Mum wanted me to know about my culture. She took me along to a lot of Indigenous events and she started teaching me about creation stories, Indigenous dancing, and a lot about our family’s past. Knowing about my culture and past means that I am connected with the land and I’ll always be connected with the land, no matter where I am or who I am. We’ve been through a lot and we still need to find that world where everyone is equal, and everyone can be treated as one.

In 2018, I got asked by the Western Bulldogs to design their guernsey for the AFL’s Indigenous Round. I got straight up and went to the study and for about an hour I just let my mind go free. I had a picture in my head about what it was going to look like. My design represents a journey. Each circle represents what I’ve been through, an important part of me. The bigger circle represents losing a loved one, achieving something I have never achieved before in my footy, in my academic ability and the little ones are just little goals I’ve set to change my character. There’s 45 circles in total, there’s 20 small ones and 25 big ones. The circles inside each other are like a ripple effect, once you do something it becomes bigger and bigger. The white lines are the path that I’ve gone through, and the footprints represent my ancestors, not just mine, our people’s ancestors, where they’ve walked and how we look at them and see where they’ve been. It’s still surreal, I still think I’m dreaming. It feels so great to have my actual design on a Guernsey.”