Sis­ters do­ing it for each other

The Djin­ders Abo­rig­i­nal Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Sup­port Group cre­ates a safe place for Abo­rig­i­nal women to heal and learn

The Daily Examiner - - UNWIND - Janelle Brown Clarence Val­ley Heal­ing Cen­tre

IN Novem­ber 2015, a group of like-minded Abo­rig­i­nal women from the Clarence Val­ley at­tended an Abo­rig­i­nal Women’s Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Sum­mit held at Man­da­long, south of Newcastle.

The aim of the sum­mit was to high­light the is­sues of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and to sup­port vic­tims and their fam­i­lies.

The women were so in­spired by the sum­mit they de­cided to form their own do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sup­port group in Grafton.

This group has be­come known as Djin­ders, which is a Gum­bayn­g­girr word mean­ing “sis­ter”.

The sup­port group holds a monthly yarn­ing cir­cle to pro­vide sup­port to one an­other and plan ac­tiv­i­ties.

Djin­ders is led by a core group of four Abo­rig­i­nal women – Rachael Ca­vanagh, Rachael Wil­liams, Roslyn Kennedy and Bund­jalung Elder Midge Ban­croft.

In 2016 the Djin­ders fundraised so they could at­tend a Clos­ing the Gap event in Can­berra.

This event had a fo­cus on do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. (The Clos­ing the Gap strat­egy is a Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ments ini­tia­tive to re­duce the level of dis­ad­van­tage amongst Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple.)

Re­turn­ing from this event mo­ti­vated the Djin­ders fur­ther. They were able to ne­go­ti­ate with the Forestry Cor­po­ra­tion of NSW to se­cure a per­mit on a por­tion of land at Ramornie.

The per­mit al­lows Djin­ders to use the land for cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties. A lot of thought went into choos­ing the par­tic­u­lar spot for the Djin­ders. El­ders and other com­mu­nity mem­bers were con­sulted, as the Djin­ders and Forestry Cor­po­ra­tion wanted to en­sure that the cho­sen site was a cul­tur­ally safe place for all Abo­rig­i­nal women.

Rachael Ca­vanagh, a spokes­woman for the group, said “we want to get the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity back on Coun­try”.

Djin­ders in­tends to use a site mostly for women and chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties that pro­vide em­pow­er­ment, al­though there will be op­por­tu­ni­ties for the whole Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity to be in­volved.

There are plans to teach women the art of cul­tural burn­ing with the view to set­ting up a cul­tural burn­ing team.

Cul­tural burn­ing is a par­tic­u­lar method of burn­ing off which Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple have used for thou­sands of years to main­tain the land­scape and en­sure a plen­ti­ful food sup­ply.

There are also plans to un­der­take bark ca­noe and weav­ing work­shops and ac­tiv­i­ties that utilise their newly planted bush tucker gar­den.

An 8 x 4 me­tre shel­ter and a large wa­ter tank have al­ready been in­stalled on the land.

Two com­post­ing toi­lets and semi-per­ma­nent

sleep­ing com­part­ments will be added to the ex­ist­ing struc­tures in the fu­ture.

As well as the sup­port that the Djin­ders re­ceived from Forestry Cor­po­ra­tion, they are also as­sisted by Grafton Nger­rie Lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal Land Coun­cil (LALC) who al­lows Djin­ders to hold their monthly gath­er­ings at their premises. The Land Coun­cil also aus­pices any funds the group re­ceives.

The group in­tends to be­come an in­cor­po­rated body in its own right so that they will be able to man­age their own funds.

Re­cently SBS re­porters vis­ited the prop­erty and in­ter­viewed mem­bers of Djin­ders for their pro­gram The Feed, which will be seen on SBS Viceland on Novem­ber 20.

The episode fea­tur­ing the Djin­ders will be one of a num­ber of pro­grams with a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence fo­cus that SBS has sched­uled in the lead-up to White Rib­bon day on Novem­ber 25.


SUP­PORT: Rachael Ca­vanagh, one of the lead­ers of the Djin­ders group, and her daugh­ter Mir­ring-nga.

The site be­ing used by the Djin­ders group for women’s and chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.