Brian was born in Darwin in the Northern Territory, following his Mother’s (Emily Ann Gordon) forced removal from his Grandmother (Nana Eliza Gordon) where together they had lived in the detention centre known as ‘The Bungalow’ in Alice Springs. Emily was taken to the ‘Bagot Reserve’ detention centre in Darwin and it was here that Brian was born on 13 September 1938.
Brian stayed in ‘Bagot Reserve’ with his beloved Mother and Godmothers Auntie Dolly Jamieson and Auntie Daisy Ruddick right up until the bombs started falling on Darwin at the beginning of World War II, forcing them to evacuate back to Alice Springs and into the comfort of reunification with family.
Brian’s Mother and Grandmother belong to the Aranda Tribe and Toby (Brian’s Grandfather) the Luritja Tribe from the Uluru and Areyonga areas of central Australia. Brian’s tribal name is ‘Jangala’.
Advocacy life began for Brian at the age of fourteen. The Elders of Alice Springs were demanding the return of their children, children who were literally torn from the arms of their Mothers and taken to all parts of Australia and overseas to foreign countries far and wide. The Elders instructed him to leave his community in central Australia and go to find the children who had been taken from them. Brian travelled from Alice Springs to Adelaide where he was sent to the St Francis Boys Home in Port Adelaide run by the Church of England. This was followed by his falsifying his age by two years so that he could enlist with the Merchant Navy as this field of work would provide him with direct access to all the mAndrewor cities, and the ability to sight all the schools, churches and anywhere that one was likely to spot children of Aboriginal and Islander descent.
Years later as Brian was connecting with other Aboriginal and Islander people a force was being generated and during this time, Brian was privileged to be mentored by Auntie Mollie Dyer with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and a whole group of other committed people there and it was here that the need to start up Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agencies around Australia was born and would come to fruition. As a founding member of the Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Inc. (SNAICC) which was formed in 1978, the very first action was to commence the push for the Federal Government to hold an inquiry into the forced removal of Aboriginal and Islander Children. Brian became the National Chairman of SNAICC and remained in the position for a further fifteen years.
With over 60 years tirelessly working on reunification of Stolen Children with their parents, families and language groups nationwide, including our surrounding Islands, Brian continues to advocate for Truth Healing and Justice through his founding position on the Stolen Generations Alliance. Playing an instrumental role on the Indigenous Advisory Council for the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families which produced the ‘Bringing Them Home Report’, Brian is also an active member of the Elders Council of South Australia.
Brian is committed to addressing the hard hitting issues of Lateral Violence by increasing knowledge and understanding of the impacts of Colonization, highlighting poor government policies and practices that still, to this day, continue to oppress, undermine and eliminate us as a people. He is adamant that Cultural Safety through education and accountability must form the foundations for all people working with and for Aboriginal and Islander peoples and their communities, obtaining and demonstrating competencies to create a truly culturally safe environment for all. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people need to understand Lateral Violence so that we can focus on practicing the opposite which is Lateral Love™, through unity based on the principals of Caring, Sharing, Nurturing Love and Respect.
Brian’s sole purpose is to support Aboriginal and Islander individuals, Brian is a prime mover to ‘Zero Tolerance towards Lateral Violence and Racism’ and a Co-Founder and Director along with his niece Nicola Butler, of Lateral Love™ Australia incorporating ‘The Decade of Lateral Love™ Around the World 2012 – 2022’ campaign and the ‘Lateral Love™ & Spirit of Care for all Humankind’ campaign which has currently reach over 35,000 viewers in 124 countries world-wide without funding or support of any kind.
Brian offers support to individuals and communities in an ongoing capacity. Advocating for all of humanity from our sacred infants right through to our elders, constantly pushing for justice and encouraging our people to stand on their own feet and take charge of their own lives.
Nicola was born in Rose Park South Australia. Nicola’s belongs to the Eastern Aranda and Luritja peoples of the central desert regions on her Father’s side and Scottish, English, German and Swedish on her Mother’s side.
Nicola is committed to working towards a Lateral Violence free society, determined that her children will not endure the self-perpetuating inter-generational and trans-generational trauma experienced by so many of our past and present generations.
Having experienced insidious forms of racism throughout her life, Nicola believes that as individuals we are never dealt any situation with which we cannot cope or find within ourselves the resources and resilience to survive. What we need is to see our current and emerging leaders upskilling our children and grandchildren with a new way of living, breathing and experiencing culture – nurturing back to health the old ways of caring and sharing.
Co-Founder and Director of Lateral Love™ Australia, a joint endeavour with the head of her family, Uncle Brian, holding steadfast to the sentiments of Martin Luther King Jr. “The time is always right to do what is right”, the movement is successfully harnessing the power of love to guide intentions and activate that strength of human spirit to challenge long held stereotypes. We are changing attitudes and perspectives from the inside out. We are tackling the once taboo subjects of suicide and lateral violence within our Aboriginal and Islander (including the Torres Strait) families and communities across the country.
Nicola’s vision holds the promise of a healed society that has embraced the principles of self-determination, one that has been ‘Aboriginalised’ (the opposite of mainstreaming, founded on the principals of caring, sharing, nurturing, love and respect) and sees through an Aboriginal Term of Reference (ATR) lens. A society that can be proud of ensuring a future where all children innately expect to reach their full potential by upholding Cultural Safety, providing a culturally safe and secure environment whereby people feel safe and draw strength in their identity, culture and community.
Lateral Love™ Australia talks about the importance of understanding our own personal culture, and how our own personal cultural values impact upon others. In our perceptions, interactions, interpretations, beliefs and subconscious reckoning as we make our way about in the world, ultimately encouraging respect for all humankind regardless of age, race, creed, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability.
“We know cultural safety cannot exist without lateral love.” – Lateral Love™ Australia 2012 – 2022