IPS Director Kristal Kinsela provided an acknowledgment of country at the Hastings Business Women's Network breakfast in Port Macquarie on International Women’s Day 2018. She honoured her mother Leonie as part of her opening remarks, and gave the 300 strong crowd the following message:
In my culture I follow a maternal line, and come from a long line of women. My mum was one of 10, and has seven sisters.
Traditionally I follow my mother, as she has followed hers and so on. I am a descendant of the Jawoyn people of Pine Creek, NT although I always respectfully acknowledge my grandfather’s people, the Wiradjuri, one of the largest nations in NSW.
I was raised by strong Aboriginal women. As is in our kinship system, it takes a community to raise a child - I have more than one mother, my aunties, my mothers, and their children my brothers and sisters.
Women have always held an important role in the societal constructs of Aboriginal communities. We saw this specifically through the separation of women’s business activities. Women have and continue to be the first educators, protectors and passers of oral history (our stories) to their children.
Aboriginal women are the backbone of our communities, to their families and extended mob. Our women work within our schools, across our community organisations, and continue to fight for social justice.
Yet, we are severely unrepresented in roles of leadership, as entrepreneurs and business owners, and so overrepresented when it comes to domestic violence, poor health and unemployment.
As you enjoy today’s ceremony honouring International Women’s Day, and the great women in our community, I ask you to reflect on our nation’s first peoples and the plight of Aboriginal women.
This years NAIDOC theme is titled Because of Her, I Can - and is appropriately fitting to recognise the role of Aboriginal women in our communities.
I am who I am, because of my mother - a single mother in housing commission on a pension, who never finished school - I am because of her, the values she instilled in me, to honour our culture and kinship, to respect others, to fight for good, to put your heart into everything you do, to be independent, to work hard because nothing will be handed on a silver platter.