#PeopleOfNRM – Bianca McNeair

As a young woman I remember telling my Mum I wanted to be an Aboriginal Artist. She replied by telling me that I had to learn about my country, what is special about my country, what is uniquely Shark Bay. This sent me on a journey of discovering country that I am still happy to be travelling today.

My education in art has helped me not only learn more about country but also be able to communicate the healing and responsibility that comes with country. I was very lucky to have been raised with a strong connection to country and given skills to care for country physically and spiritually.

As an artist and later an Aboriginal Education Officer, I began working with the Aboriginal community and found myself utilising country as a teaching ground for Aboriginal students.

My passion for teaching youth on country and communicating connection to country, led me to my role as Aboriginal Liaison Coordinator at NACC. Supporting Aboriginal people to be involved in NRM activities builds connection to country in more and more Aboriginal people and reinvigorates one of the most ancient traditions on the planet. My work at NACC is always inspiring and motivating. Taking my people out on country to teach, seeing them raise their posture and be proud of their culture never gets old to me.

As a young woman, I remember hearing about the turtle tagging program being set up in the early 90s and it wasn’t until I heard about it again in 2017 that I was able to plan my most memorable experience on country ever!

Taking five Malgana women on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Loggerhead Turtle tagging program was very important culturally and environmentally. It was the first time a group of Malgana people had been part of the program and for some of us women, it was the first time we had been to Wirruwana (Dirk Hartog). Wirruwana is a very important place for Malgana people and a rare nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead turtle.

As we cared for these big ocean girls, we remembered our Nannas, Aunties and Mums that had passed and left us like little turtle eggs on the shore, to find our own way through life and eventually back to them. Later that year alongside some very important Elders, I told that story to members of WA parliament and also spoke about how important these experiences are to our youth and why we should support more Aboriginal Ranger teams to develop economic, social and environmental outcomes for our people and our environment together as a whole.

Three years on from my first day at NACC, I am more excited about the future of Aboriginal Ranger Programs than ever before. Heading into our second year, the Midwest Aboriginal Ranger Program brings together Aboriginal people from five different language groups and covers a large part of Western Australia on the ground. Our Aboriginal youth and wider community will grow up in a world our Elders had only dreamt of but fought hard for, being proud of their culture, having an important role to play in the community and learning and sharing some of the oldest traditions in the world.

 

 

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1 comment

Congratulations to all concerned – wonderful work! Inspiring!

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