Sam Cooms is determined to improve outcomes for Indigenous people with disabilities. Sam’s life drastically changed when she became a mother to children with disabilities. Inspired by her children, the proud Noonukul Quandamooka woman committed herself to advocating for Indigenous communities and holistic care for all people with disabilities.
In 2022, Sam was conferred with her PhD degree. Her thesis focuses on how Indigenous knowledge can inform the disability sector. She uses Indigenous values to inform her career and work vision for a more inclusive society for people with disabilities – in Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) and nationally. During her research studies, Sam was also part of CQUniversity's Jilbay First Nations Research Higher Degree Academy, the first of its kind in Australia.
Sam believes that First Nations people with a disability have some of the poorest outcomes of any group in Australia, and this is echoed in many First Nation groups globally. Her research seeks to share the voice of disabled people in a strength-based and culturally appropriate manner. Sam hopes that her learnings about Indigenous knowledge will contribute to that conversation.
Thesis title: Decolonising Disability: Quandamooka Weaving