I am a Dharug Custodian and Knowledge Holder. This means my personal, professional and community life all co-exist, like a oneness.
They are influenced by the needs of my mudyin (family), people and Communities, always under the eyes of my Ancestors and driven by the causes and issues important to our survival and self-determination.
My Grandfather born in 1910, worked for Parramatta Council all his working life. I lived in Murray Street up the road from Parramatta West Public where my mum and her siblings attended. I spent much of my childhood in Parramatta learning about places, stories and culture. Now I work often on this nura (Country) of the barra (eel) that owns such a big piece of my heart. It's an enormous privilege and very humbling.
I don't see myself as a leader – just the wind behind some sails and the breeze that sets some on journeys of their own. I’m somewhere to come if my knowledge or advice is needed. As a woman I'm very honoured to continue a tradition of strong matriarchal Dharug women using my voice to care for my nura/country and progress the issues and acknowledgement of my people.
Challenges can be many. From lack of opportunity and equality, to tokenism etc. This is my experience especially as a fair skinned First Nation woman. But I'm secure in my identity and knowledge, so whilst it gets the better of me sometimes behind closed doors, I have to be strong when I step out of my safety zone to be a solid role model for other women.
I’d tell my teenage self to go harder earlier. Be a stronger wind behind my Elders. And be kinder to my soul when I feel I failed.