Genocide and ongoing colonisation have given us, as First Peoples, an inheritance of trauma. The trauma of being refugees on our own lands. The trauma when our families and communities are left shouldering the burden of generations of suffering and wrongdoing.
The Victorian government has expressed a desire for Treaty. As a proud Wurundjeri and Ngurai Illum Wurrung woman, I will bring my foundation of cultural knowledge and my skills as a recognised leader in trauma and healing practices to this truth-telling process.
My Elder Aunty Diane Kerr has nominated me to be a Yoo-rrook Commissioner. I’m honoured by her trust.
Through decades on the front-line in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family services, I’m experienced in holding space for our people to speak and be heard. I’ve seen the pain and dislocation that occur when we are separated from our families and culture. I’ve seen the scars carried from one generation to the next.
We conduct truth-telling so our children don’t have to carry the weight of the past into their futures.
I’ve seen the transformative power of our culture. As beneficiaries of ancient wisdom, we can draw on our heritages to heal and restore justice to unjust legacies through the Commission process. I am guided by those who came before me: my ancestors, my Elders and my community.
This is the foundation of my work and research in developmental, transgenerational and community trauma.
I’m the National Sector Development Manager for SNAICC and Co-Chair of the Family Matters campaign to end the over-representation of our children in out-of-home care. I’m internationally recognised for my research in using culture to heal trauma.
Within my family obligations, I practice culture with Djirri Djirri. As Custodians of Narrm (Melbourne), we ensure the flow of knowledge to the next generations. We dance to honour our Liwik (Ancestors), Kerr-up-non (Family), Biik (Country) and animals.
Non-Indigenous people seek me out to represent our communities, leading to regular invitations to speak in the media and at mainstream events such as the March 4 Justice. This means I can assist our communities in taking non-Indigenous people on this journey with us, as we work for the truth and justice that will heal our trauma.
The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission would be an extension of my work and cultural practice. My nomination comes from the resolve to ensure that people sharing their truth are not re traumatised, but feel empowered as they contribute to the path towards restorative justice.
I commit to ensure that people engaging with the Commission know their words will not only be heard but be acted on, to create justice for our community. I ask you to trust me to do this.
Our people have waited a long time to have our stories heard. It will be a painful, but necessary process for all Victorians to hear the truth. With a shared understanding of our history, we can move together, towards a better future where Aboriginal sovereignty and self-determination are recognised and upheld.