26 September 2023

ATSI staff in PM&C walk on the country

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A team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) embarked on a transformative experience during a guided ‘Walk on Country’ at Tidbinbilla in Canberra recently.

Led by Ngunnawal traditional custodian Tyronne Bell, the outing provided an opportunity to deepen cultural understanding, connect with the land, and gain firsthand insights into the history of the local area.

A recent graduate who joined PM&C earlier this year, Regan Lane was reported as expressing her enthusiasm about the experience, saying it was a chance to connect with the land, deepen our cultural capability and gain firsthand insight into the history of the land where we reside.

In addition, James Brennan from the Procurement and Contracts team had a deeply personal moment when Tyronne asked about the significance of birds in their respective backgrounds.

James said the innocent question resonated with him, reminding him of his late grandmother, ‘Wetji,’ the Kungarakan name for White Egret.

“It brought me back to a direct connection with home in the Northern Territory,” James said.

“The ‘Walk on Country’ experience was exactly what I needed – a reminder of where I come from.”

Another member of the Department, Brogan Goode, emphasised the opportunity to strengthen the connection with ‘Dhawura,’ the Ngunnawal term for Country.

According to the Department, Tyronne’s workshops have proved invaluable in sharing his extensive knowledge, family histories and teachings on delivering an Acknowledgment of Country in Ngunnawal language.

The Department said the commitment to viewing work through the lens of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples remained steadfast.

“Celebrating and respecting the knowledge, understandings, and experiences of the custodians of the oldest living cultures in the world is an integral part of their vision for reconciliation,” it said.

More information about the Department’s Reconciliation Action plan can beb accessed at this PS News link.

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