Women share stories of strength
■ The seventh annual Strong Beautiful Women’s Dinner provided a celebration of culture, community and good health at the Nor-West Jockey Club last Thursday.
Mangabura Gumagarrigu, which means Strong Beautiful Women Gathering, was conceptualised in 2007 by senior Ngarluma elder Violet Samson.
This year more than 300 women attended the gala dinner — the largest turnout in the event’s history.
Nanna Violet, as she is known in the community, started the event to encourage positive networking, cultural learning and to give women from different Aboriginal language groups and non-indigenous women a chance to yarn.
“It’s a big job, being a women in this community — we look after our families, ensure the kids go to school and carry the hurt and problems inside,” she said.
“This is the time we need to share together, talk about issues, support and help one another as much as we can in this community.
“The women’s dinner, it’s growing more every year. It makes me proud, you know.”
Ms Samson’s daughter, Josie, was MC at this year’s event along with a great line-up of local motivational speakers, while guests were treated to a traditionally inspired buffet dinner under the stars. Local women also were called to the stage to share their life experiences with the audience.
Josie Alec, who was one of the last of the stolen generation out of Roebourne, said she owed all her recent success to the “strong women” in her life.
“When I finally came back to Roebourne, I found my way back to my mum and my culture,” she said.
“It is what has driven me to do everything I’ve done since coming home — I became a teacher ... I’ve worked with the old girls at Big Hart, acted in the production Hipbone Sticking Out and played a part in the Blue Dog movie.
“The strength I’ve got from coming back here has given me everything I needed to move forward from my past and I’ve now created my own business, IndijiArts.”
The event was capped off with live entertainment, dancing and games, with Nanna Pansy taking the title of best dressed for a second year. The dinner was supported by Rio Tinto and the Woodside-operated North West Shelf Project and many local businesses.
Susan Standen and Glen Slee.