Murrudha: Sovereign Walks - Track #2

8 December 2021, 3:00:00 am

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Session Convenors

Dr Brenda L Croft, Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship, Australian National University

Session Moderators

Dr Brenda L Croft, Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship, Australian National University

Session Speakers

Dean Freeman, Aboriginal Fire Management Officer, Murrumbung Ranger, ACT Parks and Conservation
Shane Herrington, Aboriginal Discovery Ranger, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Rohit Rao, Australian National University
Dr Aunty Matilda (Williams) House, Australian National University
Aidan Hartshorn, National Gallery of Australia / Australian National University

'Murrudha' - Wiradjuri term meaning ‘on track’. Walking on Country enables bodily engagement with Country, maintained since time immemorial, representing the non-linear concept of the Everywhen, which colonisation disrupted. These interconnected panels address a sovereign action enacted in 1927, with reference to an earlier action in 1873. In May 1927 Wiradjuri Elders Jimmy Clements (c. 1847 –28 August 1927) and John Noble (c. 1847 – March 1928) walked from Brungle Mission, the oldest Aboriginal Reserve in NSW, across the Brindabella Ranges to be present at the opening of Parliament House, Canberra, on 9 - 10 May. The Melbourne Argus (10 May 1927) acknowledged their presence as: ‘[claiming] sovereign rights to the Federal Capital Territory’. Reclaiming and asserting connection to Country is a sovereign action ensuring cultural maintenance and transmission, a positive predictor for improved First Nations Health and Wellbeing. Panellists include First Nations cultural practitioners, creative-led researchers and Knowledge Holders engaging multi-disciplinary modalities, culturally appropriate research processes and creative praxes. Critical First Nations collaborative auto-ethnography, Storywork and Storymapping methodologies inform this project. Murrudha: Sovereign Walks – tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music is an ANU Grand Challenges: Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Collaborative Scheme project.

THIS SESSION IS A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

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Biographies

Dr Brenda L Croft, Associate Professor, Indigenous Art History and Curatorship, Australian National University

Dr Brenda L Croft is from the Gurindji/Malngin/Mudburra peoples from the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory of Australia, and Anglo-Australian/German/Irish/Chinese heritage. Brenda’s multi-disciplinary practice-led research encompasses critical performative Indigenous auto-ethnography, representation and identity, Indigenous Storying and creative narratives, installation, multi-media and multi-platform work, personal and public archives, memory and memorialisation. Brenda is a team leader on Murrudha: Sovereign walks - tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music (2020 - 2025), ANU Grand Challenges: Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Collaborative Scheme.


Dean Freeman, Aboriginal Fire Management Officer, Murrumbung Ranger, ACT Parks and Conservation

Dean Freeman is a Wiradjuri man from Brungle Aboriginal Reserve at the Northern foothills of Kosciuszko National Park. For over twenty years, he has worked in cultural heritage with NSW National Parks (Tumut) and now ACT Parks, where he leads the cultural burning program. He enjoys locating and protecting cultural sites and fighting fires on Country as part of his cultural obligations. Through this knowledge, he is able to pass on information to the community, receive cultural knowledge from the Elders, and pass knowledge on as appropriate. Dean is a key partner and advisor on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks.


Shane Herrington, Aboriginal Discovery Ranger, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

I am a proud First Nations Wolgalu/Wiradjuri man from the Brungle and Tumut valley, I have worked with National Parks Tumut for 15 years on country delivering cultural education in my role as Aboriginal Discovery Ranger. My dedication has been driven by the knowledge and vision passed on to me by my community, elders and family. I am dedicated and passionate about preserving and protecting my culture and passing on my knowledge through hands on learning and practical experiences, teaching men from around the Riverina how to make traditional bark canoe’s is just one component of knowledge shared with First Nations People. Protecting my culture by sharing my knowledge to ensure its ingrained into the minds of the next generation of first Nations knowledge holders and teachers. Sharing my family stories and wisdom is heightened when delivered on my people’s country.


Dr Aunty Matilda (Williams) House, Australian National University

Dr Aunty Matilda (Williams) House was born in 1945 on Erambie Aboriginal Reserve, Cowra NSW, and raised at Hollywood Aboriginal Reserve, Yass. Matilda is a proud Ngambri-Ngunnawal woman who has a long and respected association with the ANU, acknowledged with an Honorary Doctorate in 2017. She was instrumental in establishing the Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre in association with the Indigenous students on campus in 1989. Matilda's ties with the ANU have been an extension of her determined pursuit of social justice for Indigenous people in the wider community. She was a tireless supporter of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy when it was established in 1972, helped to establish the Aboriginal Legal Service in Queanbeyan in the 1980s and has served as a member of the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee. Matilda established and is now Chair of the Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, and is a member of many Canberra and Queanbeyan Indigenous committees and organisations. She has been a key supporter and partner on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks, especially championing the 1873 walk from Queanbeyan to Cooma by First Nations Elder, Nellie Hamilton.


Aidan Hartshorn, Wesfarmers Indigenous Assistant Curator, National Gallery of Australia; Research Assistant, Murrudha: Sovereign Walks - tracking cultural actions through art, Country, language and music, National Gallery of Australia; Australian National University

Aidan Hartshorn is a Walgalu man of the Ngurmal Nation, from the foothills of the Snowy Mountains in NSW. Aidan has both colonial and Indigenous heritage. Aidan graduated from the Australian National University School of Art and Design in 2019, gaining a Bachelor of Visual Arts majoring in Sculpting - the first in his family to undertake tertiary studies. In 2021 Aidan was selected for the Art Monthly Australasian Indigenous Voices Mentorship and Publications Program. He is the Wesfarmers Indigenous Assistant Curator at the National Gallery of Australia and Research Assistant on Murrudha: Sovereign Walks.


Rohit Rao, Australian National University

Rohit Rao is a young graduate student of ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, majoring in sustainability and development studies. He is interested in the political nature of resource contestations, and working with communities to communicate complex social and ecological issues through art, stories, and tools such as Geographic Information Systems. His current work as a 'cultural mapper' for Murrudha involves mapping out the geospatial landscape of the 1927 walk by Wiradjuri Elders, Jimmy Clements and John Noble, from Brungle to Canberra, and its associated legal, environmental, and cultural values.