I am constantly drawn back to my childhood in the late 70’s, early 80’s spending my younger years growing up on Wurrumiyanga (Formally known as Nguiu) on Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory. It was a much simpler time, a time when you went to school, played freely within the kids in the community, ate an abundance of ‘long-bum’ and ‘mangrove worm’ and developed a greater understanding of the important things in life.
I think there is still a picture floating around somewhere of me, aged around 4-5 years old dressed up on Tiwi Grand final day, as the Tapalinga mascot? The local Tiwi Island AFL team my farther played with.
I consider myself a proud Non-Indigenous Tiwi Man have close ties and lifelong connections with my spiritual family, the Puruntatameri family group, who’s Yiminga (or skin group) is Takaringuwi (mullet).
Being able to speak fluent Tiwi up until the age of about 10, I am very passionate about keeping culture strong through socioeconomic change, engagement, employment and most of all, working on country!
Through this in-depth understanding and life-long connection to the Indigenous culture and specifically the Tiwi People, I have been given a rare and unique gift! A gift of learning and insight into both, the Kinship and Cultural protocols of one of the longest living Cultures in the world!
They say, knowledge is power? Well, in this case I believe so! The power to create change, from a cultural sensitive perspective to drive acceptance is, in my opinion half the battle in driving Indigenous engagement and employment outcomes.
Growing up in Wurrumiyanga, I consider myself extremely privileged to have been embraced by members of this traditional owner group. Through the understanding of their culture and lifelong connection with the people and the land, I possess a strong commitment to the empowerment of the Indigenous people of Australia incorporating socioeconomic advancement.
What a journey!!!
Throughout this journey, I have held many operational roles within remote communities dedicated to the empowerment of Indigenous people through increasing employment opportunities and, what seems like the never-ending battle against generational welfare dependency.
As I look back, I truly believe this experience has made me the person I am today. One that is truly humbled to have been provided this unique gift!
As Always, my door is always open!