Narrative Of An Indigenous Australian Essay


Discuss about the Narrative of an Indigenous Australian, Female Hockey Athlete: Nova Peris.


The lifespan of human beings with adverse mental illness is too short due to intense physical illness. In her autobiography, Nova Peris was born in 1971 and was sensitive about mental and physical health illnesses. Nova Peris infrequently hyperventilated due to anxiety obtained when playing hockey games. Nova appealed to a sports psychologist to help her maintain fatigues and stress resulting from long periods of play in the field. Unlike other hockey players, Nova Peris considered herself fit and secure enough that she did not require frequent visits to the psychologists as that was the protocol of the Hockey (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2016). Nova suffered flu and fever in 2000, a health issue that threatened her planned goal of competing at the Olympics in Sydney. Nova Peris as well suffered a hamstring injury that made it impossible for her to assist her Hockeyroos counterparts in Sydney Olympics competition. To maintain her health fitness, Nova pleaded with her coach Ric Charlesworth to take a group of team colleagues to Cobourg for a seven day off in 1966. This helped in building her mental power and reducing stress and fatigue.

Mental and physical illness directly caused premature death for Nova's teammates, but for Nova Peris, the commitment she made to herself to ensuring health improvement steps that made her remain fit to participate in 1998 Commonwealth hockey games. Her sense of responsibility to tradition, coupled with the memory of Nova's memory to reconnecting with her natural father, John Christophersen created a significant mental capacity for her (White, 2008). The prospect of success for a healthy transition to a physically and mentally ill indigenous woman, residing in the traditional land of the Murray people and moving with Sean Kneebone her boyfriend made her social life better and thus avoided emotional stress.

However, Peris Nova psychology was adversely affected for she felt discriminated and alienated against when she lived at Queensland with Sean Kneebone. However, the move to live at Queensland facilitated Nova’s career improvement and development since she could run and play hockey everytime which helped reduce fatigue (Bond, Phillips, & Osmond, 2015). In this story of Nova Peris, the early of 1997 the indigenous woman moved from Queensland city to Melbourne where she briefly trained at the Victorian Institute of Sport. However, her health started deteriorating while at Melbourne due to poisonous atmosphere brought about by the misunderstanding and breakup of Nic Bideau with his girlfriend, Cathy Freeman. The emotional stress to her friend affected her mental fitness, and this made her return to her husband where the atmosphere was more friendly for maintaining health measures.

Poor lifestyle is blamed for economic, environmental, and political factors but the lack of exercises, lack of social fitness, and inability to control stress are the major factors hindering healthy living. In this autobiography, Nova is seen to have teammates whose burden for injuries and physical unfitness lowered their life expectancy levels. This health disadvantage faced by indigenous hockey women players may get related to lack of recognition and acknowledgment that daily body exercises contribute to healthy living (Judd, 2015). However, Nova is seen to be a different woman who knows the importance of mental and physical fitness as it is observed in her autobiography. The late of 1997, Peris moved to train with the handling speed intelligently unit in the US under the management of John Smith.

Peris Nova's story has impacts to her personal life, her family, her community, and the indigenous society as a whole. To her life, when she suffered fever, flu, and hamstring injuries in 2000, she never participated in Sydney Olympics competition, and this primarily brought mental stress and lack of mental power fitness to her life. Also, in her autobiography, Peris has persistently taken right measures to maintain her body fitness to be healthy and avoid obesity in her body (Parker & Milroy, 2014). However, her friends conflicts with their social friends affect her mental power. Peris Nova is seen to be mentally unfit especially when she goes to train with the handling speed intelligence unit in the US since the manager; John Smith had a fallout with her husband, Sean Kneebone.

The story of Peris Nova shapes the future of her community for people can learn the importance of physical and mental fitness for healthy living. Her teammates made regular visits to psychologists to get advice on how to manage family and personal demands with little or no stress (Hollinsworth, 2013). Clearly, the impact of physical and mental illness will have a far long term effect on the newborn indigenous children. Her ability to maintain social and psychological stress is described by her own ability to train hard in the hockey field. She has shown as a role model the effects of physical activities and mental fitness in the healthy living of a person. She trained every day, and whenever the environment became unconducive, she could return to that social setting where the training and the life atmosphere was fit for physical and mental growth.

Peris Nova is the role model to both the indigenous women and all women living in the society as a whole. Her participation in 1998 Commonwealth games around Australia establishes an excellent profile to indigenous female athletes while her involvement in the Sydney Olympics Organizing Committee contributes to further development of women co-curriculum activities in the city (Tsey et al., 2010). Her inspirational desire to ensure healthy living with no physical and mental illness makes women in the town of Melbourne and Sydney portray her as an active role model on the athletic stage for all traditions and cultures.

In conclusion, this narrative about Peris Nova provides sufficient evidence that physical exercises and living in a conducive social environment contribute to healthy living. The media plays a critical role in creating awareness about indigenous healthy living measures that assist women to avoid health issues of stress, mental and physical illness as well as avoiding obesity (Stronach, Maxwell, & Taylor, 2016). Women should make the choice of honoring healthy living measures by pursuing daily exercises and engaging in community beneficial activities. The playing of hockey creates an efficient opportunity for people to start a success journey of their health story that would positively impact on the lives of numerous indigenous populations.


Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, (2016). Overview of Australian Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander health status, 2015.Perth, WA: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

Bond, C., Phillips, M. G., & Osmond, G. (2015). Crossing Lines: Sports HistoryTransformative Narratives, and Aboriginal Australia. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 32(13), 1531-1545.

Hollinsworth, D. (2013). Decolonizing Indigenous disability in Australia. Disability & Society, 28(5), 601-615.

Judd, B. (2015). Good sports: representations of Aboriginal people in Australian sports. Knowledge of Life: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, 184.

Parker, R., & Milroy, H. (2014). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health: an overview. Working together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing principles and practice. 2nd ed. Canberra: Department of The Prime Minister and Cabinet, 25-38.

Stronach, M., Maxwell, H., & Taylor, T. (2016). ‘Sistas’ and Aunties: sport, physical activity, and Indigenous Australian women. Annals of Leisure Research, 19(1), 7-26.

Tsey, K., Whiteside, M., Haswell?Elkins, M., Bainbridge, R., Cadet?James, Y., & Wilson, A.(2010). Empowerment and Indigenous Australian health: a synthesis of findings from Family Wellbeing formative research. Health & social care in the community, 18(2), 169-179.

White, L. (2008). One athlete, one nation, two flags: Cathy Freeman and Australia's search forAboriginal reconciliation. Sporting Traditions, 25(2), p.1.

How to cite this essay: