Page 2432 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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someone of my age, I grew up with only the faintest ideas about these strong, vibrant, resilient, powerful cultures with which I share a land. It has been my great fortune as an adult to learn more. Most prominently, my childhood teachers who described Indigenous culture as a “were” and a “was”, along with some political leaders who do so today, perpetuated the most damaging myth of our history. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are an “are” and an “is”, and also a “will be”.

I would also like to express my admiration for the theme of NAIDOC Week this year: “Because of her, we can!” It was a terrific theme celebrating many terrific women leaders—women leaders who deserve to have their contributions acknowledged in this place. I will name a few.

Ros Brown is one of the founding members of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, or UNEC. Ros is currently the co-chair of UNEC and was instrumental in establishing Ngunnawal healing camps, to bring reconciliation within the Ngunnawal community, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Bush Healing Farm. In 2000 Ros was awarded a centenary medal for her work in the community and she is currently the elder-in-residence at the Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra.

Louise Brown is a proud and well-respected elder of the Ngunnawal people. As a young woman Louise was one of the first Aboriginal women employed at David Jones, in reception and telephone exchange roles, breaking down stereotypes and opening doors for administration and office work for Indigenous women in the ACT.

Selina Walker is a proud Ngunnawal woman. In addition to caring for her three godsons, Selina works tirelessly with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Selina also worked at Gugan Gulwan for nine years, undertaking a variety of roles, including most recently as the drug and alcohol worker and the operations manager. Selina currently serves on a number of steering committees, including the ACT Reconciliation Day Council. She also assists her grandmother Aunty Agnes to deliver welcome to country addresses. Selina was recognised last year as the 2017 Barnardos ACT Mother of the Year and, in true form, Selina, a selfless champion of women, accepted her award on behalf of all mums.

Katrina Fanning is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Junee, New South Wales, and has lived in the ACT for the majority of the past 26 years. During this time she has been an active community member, involved in sports and community organisations. Katrina is the current chairperson of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. She is also the director of Coolamon Advisors, which is an Indigenous consulting firm based here in Canberra. Previously, she held senior executive roles in government, including with Centrelink, Aboriginal Hostels and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Her career started as a trainee in the ACT government in 1995, having worked in the Magistrates Court, sport and rec and the Chief Minister’s departments.

Following her own successful rugby league career, she has maintained involvement in the sport at a national level as a member of the NRL Indigenous Council and manager of the Indigenous Women’s All Stars team. In addition, Katrina is a board member of Marymead and the Women’s Legal Centre, and is a member of the Marist Indigenous

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