Derek Oram Sandy is the eldest son of Marissa Sandy and Derek Oram. He was born in his mother’s country of the Yerongpan clan, descending from the Yerongpan and Miguntyun clans from Brisbane and the Mununjali clan from Beaudessert. On his father’s side he carries the bloodlines of Burrigabba, Wakka Wakka, Butchulla and Durumbul.
Derek, along with his four younger siblings, grew up in South East Brisbane. Derek spent majority of his adolescence moving between the suburbs of Ipswich and Logan. Growing up in his mother’s country subconsciously created a strong connection to the land and his ancestor’s of the Brisbane region. Growing up in the suburbs Derek attended numerous schools and succeeded in a variety of sports across the board. After high school Derek tried and tested many jobs such as labour work, apprenticeships, meat worker, bartending and busking just to name a few but nothing could replace his heritage and strong cultural connection.
Over time, it was apparent Derek had inherited his ancestors strong warrior spirit as he naturally succeeded in didgeridoo, dancing, singing and painting. He had a dream to create a community that respects Aboriginal people and believed the way to achieve this was through education. In 2016, the Yerongpan Aboriginal Dancers company was established. Derek combined the things he loved – family, dance, singing, and art – and created a maintainable lifestyle. It didn’t take long for the word to spread. Derek now spends every day of his life boosting Indigenous Australian's spirits through identity and educating non-indigenous Australian’s about the First Australian’s history at early learning centres, primary schools, high schools, universities, libraries and private organisations.
Derek aims to keep the ancient culture of his ancestors alive and continue to pass down the knowledge through song and dance.
Derek is one of our Seedling Footprints artists for 2019. The Seedling program focuses on the creative development process, enabling artists and creatives with the space to explore, seed new ideas, and challenge forms of expression.