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Polly Cutmore: “We will not be bullied into accepting any long-term harm to precious waters and fauna and flora.” Picture: John Janson-Moore

‘Gamil means no’

WHILE Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has given mining company Santos the green light for a controversial gas project in Narrabri, traditional owners, including Gomeroi woman Polly Cutmore, have a message: Gamil means no. 

“Our people don’t want this gas field and we are here to tell the Government, Santos and their investors that we will keep on fighting it,” Ms Cutmore said. 

“The Pilliga is Gomeroi land and Santos is not welcome there. We will never stop fighting to protect the Pilliga and protect Gomeroi country from coal seam gas.” 

Latest News Stories

Siblings Floyd Tighe Jnr and Oaklee Tighe with their cousin Brad Tighe. Pictures by JAIMI-LEIGH FAULKNER

Family Footy Fever

Wednesday, 2 December 2020 5:34 pm

IT’S not the Koori Knockout or the Murri Carnival, but Tribal League’s National Indigenous Rugby League championships filled the Aboriginal community football void in 2020.

And just like the Knockout and the Murri Carnival, the championships drew solid support from families and friends from far and wide, happy and relieved to finally reunite and catch up, after a year spent mostly in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while enjoying the action on the field. 

The inaugural three-week event wrapped up in Sydney at Campbelltown Stadium last week after a roadtrip that saw it play out in Dubbo (week one) and Gosford (week two) in NSW. Organisers hope to go around again next year. 

For the record, Newcastle Hawks won the men’s division and Redfern All Blacks won the women’s division. 

Archie Roach with his sister Dianne and niece Tracy Roach at the ARIA award ceremony in Warnambool. Picture: Justin Williams

Archie: All the children came back

Wednesday, 2 December 2020 5:27 pm

ARCHIE Roach was inducted into the Australian Record Industry Awards (ARIA) Hall of Fame last week. 

Not long out of hospital, and breathing through a nasal cannula, Uncle Archie performed his anthem for the Stolen Generations Took the Children Away, accompanied by a full band, backing singers and Paul Kelly. 

His niece Tracy Roach and sister Dianne Roach presented him with the award in a small theatre in Warrnambool. 

“I remember the first time that I heard my uncle sing Took the Children Away I cried, because I was one of those children who came back,” Tracy said. 

“To me it’s a healing song.”

Jorjia Gillis has won this year’s Balnaves. Picture: Luke Currie-Richardson

A new storyteller for Belvoir

Monday, 30 November 2020 5:10 pm

YUIN woman Jorjia Gillis has been awarded the 2020 Balnaves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship.

A $25,000 paid residency, the Balnaves Foundation Fellowship gives the fellow the opportunity to work at Belvoir, in Sydney, as a resident artist to create a work for the stage. 

In Gillis’ new play, an excited Cassandra is about to make history as the first Aboriginal female artistic director of a major theatre company. On the eve before her first season launch, with a lucrative season of programming in the barrel, Cassandra is suddenly called back to her hometown on the coast with some pressing family news. But returning home doesn’t always look like what you thought it would be. 

The work is a sentimental comedy about family, community and moving forward by stepping back into the past. 

Gillis is a proud Saltwater woman of the Budawang tribe of the Yuin nation from the South Coast of NSW. 

As an actor, theatremaker, emerging writer and arts facilitator, she has trained in Sydney and the UK and worked across a number of theatre and TV productions. 

Melissa Greenwood was inspired by Gumbaynggirr land.

Mother and daugher team creates homewares inspired by country

Monday, 30 November 2020 5:07 pm

MOTHER and daughter duo Lauren Jarrett and Melissa Greenwood were inspired by the Gumbaynggirr land that they live on for their latest homewares collection. 

The pair are the creators of Miimi and Jiinda and the homewares range – a collaboration with Adairs – proved so popular it sold out across the country in just two days, highlighting the desire for Aboriginal culture in Australian homes. 

“Our creations are works of cultural renewal, telling visual stories that reflect our unique perspective and distinctive experience as Aboriginal women,” says Melissa, who was raised with a strong focus on Indigenous culture by her mother Lauren, a member of the Stolen Generations. 

Taken when she was just nine years old, Lauren returned to her family nine years later, determined to rediscover her roots. 

“She had to relearn the culture and was determined to raise us children culturally strong,” says Melissa, who was educated in weaving, painting and the local language by…

Yorta Yorta soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham has written a new Christmas carol, Christmas With You, and she is inviting you to join in, singing the carol with an online choir for ABC Classic radio.

Deborah shares the joy of Christmas with you

Monday, 30 November 2020 5:05 pm

YORTA Yorta soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham adores Christmas. 

Deborah creates Christmas light displays adorning her home, after days spent up a ladder in the early December sunshine, to bring festive cheer to her entire neighbourhood. 

And she’s been getting into the Christmas spirit for more than 30 years. 

This year Deborah is inviting all Australians to join her – and the 2700 singers who have already registered – to take part in an online choir to sing her new Christmas carol Christmas With You. 

Deborah told the Koori Mail that her Christmas carol is about sharing hope and what it means to come together with family, in whatever shape or form that may be, over the Christmas period. 

“2020 has been a year of challenge and change, and our loved ones have never felt so far away,” she said. 

“Aboriginal people know the meaning of tradition so well, and Christmas, with…

Stephen Pigram, Picture: Frances Adrijich

A story from a long time ago on country

Monday, 30 November 2020 5:03 pm

RENOWNED Yawuru musician Stephen Pigram has released a personal new song Walganyagarra Buru to coincide with NAIDOC Week. 

Walganyagarra Buru tells the story of the meeting of Pigram’s great- grandparents, and is sung in Yawuru, Broome Kriol and English. 

The recording was released by the Australian String Quartet and added to its burgeoning Australian Anthology digital release platform, to celebrate both Aus Music Month and NAIDOC Week, which was delayed this year due to COVID 19. 

Walganyagarra Buru was commissioned by the Klein Family Foundation, as part of Quartet & Country, a project by the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and its 2016-2019 artistic director, composer Iain Grandage, UKARIA and the Australian String Quartet, and recorded live from Melbourne Recital Centre in 2019. 

Walganyagarra buru – which translates as ‘long time ago in country’ in our Yawuru language, nganga – is a song in which I hoped would bring elements of storytelling in traditional, kriol and English; and in the music, folk, country and Djabi melody,” Pigram said.