I’m a proud yok (woman) from the Bibbulmun/Noongar/Nyungar Nation within the south west region of Western Australia. My family lineage stems from the Wilman, Whadjuk, Kaneang, Goreng and Minang tribes in the south west – I’m a proper bush girl. I also have Chinese, Irish and English/British (still clarifying that one) heritage, and my family also tells me that there’s Native American, Scottish and Portuguese ancestry somewhere in the mix, so perhaps I’m best described as being “multi-ethnic”.
I’ve always been intrigued by storytelling, and the performance of storytelling, across all art forms. At the age of 16, I entered the performing arts industry through a traineeship in performing. I’m now an actor, presenter, writer, director, artist, linguist, arts worker and coach with about 17 years experience. I’m currently working at Screen Australia to manage the Indigenous Employment Program, which creates employment and training opportunities for Indigenous people within the media and screen industry.
I also host a popular children’s show on NITV called Waabiny Time – which I love. Oh, and I’m a serious tea drinker!
Art, language, theatre, stories, shows, people, relationships, education, music, life … whatever kickstarts a healthy conversation with followers, and whatever each day brings, really! I don’t plan things too much. I believe that some things should always have an element of spontaneity to them, room for pleasant surprises and fresh discussions. Oh, and I’ll be working on a couple of great projects during my hosting week, so I’ll be chatting about them too.
Definitely a few key people within my family, as well as a unique bunch of mentors.
My maternal grandfather nurtured me from a very young age and taught me the fundamentals of life, love and culture, and he dedicated so much of his working life to our community. My grandmothers are both extremely wise women, loving and strong, and have endured such unique hardships throughout their lives (they were both sent away at an early age) – yet they’re positively happy and encouraging. My paternal grandfather – who is Chinese – his stories are amazing, sometimes heartbreaking and sad, but powerful. And then there’s Waljin, for all things cultural and ceremonial – she is a gift! Yibiyung, a beautiful custodian of language and history. All of our special old people back home (past and present). My siblings, and all my family – each of them have personal success stories that offer a wealth of inspiration.
And I thoroughly enjoy meeting people with a strong and passionate human spirit – anyone with a positive and compassionate attitude towards life and others, regardless of the obstacles at hand. Inspiration can come from the most diverse places, no matter how great or small the offer may be.
There are so many. Lots of work to be done by all of us across this vast land. Two issues, in particular, instantly come to mind and heart: youth suicide, and “caring for country”. Our youth suicide rate is disturbingly high and it’s an issue which doesn’t receive enough attention. And our land itself needs so much care and protection. Without direct access to our land or sacred country, we struggle to practise the traditions we need to in order to keep our spirit (and culture) strong. And I feel that a lot of our younger generation are missing out on these crucial connections to country in order to stimulate their mental health and empowerment, to remind and reassure them, that they are important members of our society – our next generation of inspirational leaders and caretakers.
That white, black and even Chinese people can gamble together without getting different coloured chips. *chuckles* I’m just kidding; that’s a quote from a movie I laugh at a lot – Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2.
On a more serious note, I hope that our country, in particular our scared sites and sacred land, can be preserved and protected. I hope that our traditional languages remain active, secure and spoken (and also protected). I hope that our next generation are learning all they can from our old peoples’ knowledge and history. I hope that our society grows harmoniously together beyond colour boundaries and stereotypes.
I hope for a better future for our children and our children’s children. These are my most passionate hopes.