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Healing needs to happen on Country

Nindi Ngujarn Ngarigo Monero Aboriginal Corporation have begun work to help Ngarigo Monero people heal by getting back on Country to reconnect with culture, the land and each other through a series of camps and training workshops.

Doris Paton is a proud Ngarigo Monero woman and the Executive Officer of Nindi Ngujarn Ngarigo Monero Aboriginal Corporation.

The most senior elder women of Ngarigo Monero have been advocating for the rights of their people for years, explains Doris.

“The Elders feel for their country from the bushfires because they’ve lived on it and when it comes to this funding, they’re thrilled to bits for the mob.”

Nindi Ngujarn’s primary focus is to look after the interests of the Ngarigo Monero people, their knowledge, their culture, their connection to places and to pass that down to future generations so it is not lost.

“Being able to look after Country and having that responsibility to look after Country is something that we take seriously. We have built a mutually respectful relationship over many years with other agencies. It is important that they recognise Aboriginal people, and their knowledge, which can help us improve management of our country collaboratively.”

Doris explains recovery is an ongoing process, but delays caused by COVID-19 have meant the team have only begun phase one of the project. They are now getting people out to begin mapping, which has already found new culturally significant sites for documentation. Doris says: 

“Knowing Country, our connection to it, how it was affected by the fires and being able to look after it through bushfire recovery, is healing in itself.

“Our Elders are getting older, and the next generation need to be shown Country by the Elders. The grants Nindi Ngujarn have received from BRV and DELWP are allowing this to happen.”

Doris says there is a sense of excitement for the younger generation to get back on Country and learn from Elders and family by reconnecting to places and culture.

“The young ones really want to embrace their responsibility to Country, and this funding has enabled us to facilitate these workshops for them to do that.”

During the camps, people will reconnect, learn about cultural knowledge, including language, identifying cultural artefacts, and sharing stories about the mob, kinships, and connection to the land.