Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts
Pekeri Ruska is a Goenpul woman from North Stradbroke Island, Queensland. She has an inherent passion for social justice matters and at the core of her work is a commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Whilst working toward her law and journalism degree at Griffith University, Pekeri's career had already started at Boe Lawyers in Brisbane, where she worked as a paralegal for five years. She then went on to be a Criminal and Civil Law Solicitor in Victoria, pairing her professional skills with her strong sense of community.
She co-founded the Aboriginal rights newspaper 'Black Nations Rising' and worked in a voluntary capacity for the Tawirri Indigenous Law Organisation and the Footscray Community Legal Centre.
Her legal training and commitment to her community led to her appointment as General Manager of the North Stradbroke Island Aboriginal and Islanders Housing Co-operative.
Highly conscious of housing concerns in her home community, Ms Ruska quickly worked to establish initiatives that assist low socio-economic community members, and elders, to live in appropriate accommodation within their own community.
In the two short years since her appointment as General Manager, she has also established the Goompi NAIDOC Committee on North Stradbroke Island and organised its 2018 NAIDOC Dinner, which for the first time offered a series of awards to local Indigenous leaders and champions.
She is now recognised as an important and skilled young leader who is involved in a range of political, legal and social activities on behalf of the Stradbroke Island Aboriginal community.
The culmination of her work has resulted in her award as a 2019 Atlantic Fellow.