Shantelle Thompson

Barkindji Warrior

She’s a Barkindji/Ngiyampaa woman and a three-time world champion in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, with three degrees to her name. Oh, and a motivational speaker, trainer, proud mum and an active role model for young people. Is there anything this Barkindji Warrior can’t do?

Shantelle tells us what keeps her powering on.

“Being a world champion is great for five minutes, but it’s what I can do with those medals that matter to me. It is the story it tells and the map it leads for others about what it is possible.

All of my achievements are only important if they can inspire others to find their Warrior Within.

It’s not been an easy journey. I’ve had many challenges in my life – including bullying, sexual abuse and post-natal depression.

At school, I never felt supported or understood by the teachers. All I knew was that I wanted to create a different life for myself and my future kids than how I had grown up.

I wanted to work with young people and empower them to become their best selves, to challenge the trauma experiences of my community, to get the world to better respect and value women and my culture. And I wanted to dismantle the systems that disadvantage and oppress people.

My journey began by listening to the voice inside my heart, being grounded by my culture and just taking the next step.

I was being the change I needed to see in the world. Understanding the trauma and story of my parents allowed me to forgive and understand a lot, so I didn’t become weighed down by the past.

Following my ancestral mandate helped to know who and what I was fighting for.

I’m in my 30s now, but I am still only just getting started. What I have done so far and who I have become as a person is only scratching the surface of what is possible for me and what I can do for the world.”

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Industry: Sport, Communication
Job: Too many to mention