Saturday, June 25, 2011

The National Congress - a post event round-up

WELL, I wasn’t successful in my nomination as a Director on the first-elected Board of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. I let many friends know this result on the day of the announcement of the ballot results, but have been a little slower getting back on the blog.

I am more than happy to be an active Member and Delegate of Congress, although I was initially a little disappointed about my unsuccessful nomination. I am Member #1552 and at this time membership is both free and for life to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 18. I’d encourage Mob to join up and get involved. 

I also fully support the newly elected Board and wish them all the very best.

KIRSTIE Parker, editor of the Koori Mail, worked her fingers to the bone to bring her readership the range of people and perspectives from the inaugural meeting of Congress. See Koori Mail edition 503 for the little and big stories out of Congress 7-9 June, 2011.

UNITY was one of the keywords resonating throughout Congress. And in my fortnightly column with the National IndigenousTimes (out Thursday 23 June) I reflect on that word as it resonated at the Congress.

I enjoyed the entire Program and my time at Congress and never once forgot how critical it, as a representative organisation, can be for the future of our peoples here in Australia. 

The highlights for me were:
  • Being part of such a broad base of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation. 
  • Hearing about the long journey to establishment of the Congress (as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee) from those whose hard work has brought it to this point. 
  • Ms Jacqueline Johnson Pata’s Keynote Address, giving us insights from her point of view as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.
  • Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue’s (AC, CBE, DSG) Official Opening Address. Dr O’Donoghue, approaching her 80th year, has no apologies to make to anyone and she gave words that surely left no-one in any doubt that she sees Congress as a very strong stepping stone to better futures for Us Mob 
  • The Hon Linda Burney MPs Conference Dinner Speech was phenomenal. Another strong woman whose dignity, experience and words surely inspired all who heard them; they did me. The thing that most stayed with me from what Linda said were words to the effect that those in leadership roles carry forward the aspirations of others, and with that comes responsibility and privilege. Linda also reminded people to take care of themselves and each other and to also remember to have some fun along the way. 
  • Hearing the outgoing Interim Board Chairs Josephine Bourne and Sam Jeffries speak and getting some time with them was also a valuable highlight.
  • Listening to and talking with Co-Chairs Elect Les Malezer and Jody Broun was also a highlight.
  • Meeting all the other Delegates! and staff of the Congress Secretariat  
It’s an important time in the management of our affairs, and I am engaged in this time as a woman and mother doing my part in raising members of our next generation, and in the work I do as an editor, writer and scholar. I also believe that all that I do is complemented by my being a National Congress Member and Delegate of Congress.
I’d encourage everyone to keep abreast of the National Congress news and public statements on  the important events that are affecting us and our communities.  See images event and video of this historic event.

    We can never be assured of what’s going to happen in the future but I take heart from the words of Mohondas Gandhi (1869-1948) who said, “Be the change you want to see.” 

    If we are the change we want to see, at least we can have the satisfaction and clear conscience of knowing that within ourselves and within our own circle of influence we are being true. It may also be the case that others see the examples we are setting and find wisdom in those approaches.

    Till next!

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