Shantelle Thompson OAM

Emerging Leader 2020 - 2021

Shantelle Thompson is a proud Wiimpatya, Malyangapa, Barkandji, Nhuunghku woman living in Mildura and will be known to many as the Barkindji Warrior and the 2019 NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year in recognition of her martial arts world titles.

She is a mother, storyteller, athlete, speaker, educator, role model, mentor, facilitator and business owner. She is an activist and social entrepreneur who believes that actions speaks louder than words and strives to be the change she wants to see in the world.

Shantelle’s pilot program started in the Mallee Region. The Warrior Within Young Women’s Program is a trauma informed self empowerment, self leadership and life skills program.  It is run during the school term (after school) for 6-8weeks per term for up to 30 young women at a time.

The program is a trauma informed self empowerment, self leadership and life skills program.  It is focused on inspiring the young women to believe in themselves, providing role models, using martial arts/sports and being active as a vehicle to engage with them. There is also a strong focus on capacity and skill building with guest speakers and facilitators invited in, and the aim of the program is for the girls to build respect for their fellows sisters and to break through the community violence that is an issue for their community.

Her vision for the First Nations community of Victoria is to see everyone coming together as a community, to heal lateral violence and self-determination to be a lived reality. She envisions a community that is strong, healthy and empowered, proud and connected to who and what they are, and have the ability and resources to determine their own path and future.

In June 2021 Shantelle was recognised for her work in the First Nations community with an Order of Australia Medal.

Click on the following for Shantelle’s profile on the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia website:

Shantelle Thompson OAM | Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (


Shantelle held a Kiilalaana Women’s Gathering on 11 September 2022 for 14 – 20 year old girls at the Koorie Heritage Trust.