I had known I was Woppaburra but never had the opportunity to be on country so when this opportunity first presented itself via a phone call from my Dad & Uncle Barno (Vincent Singleton) I nervously accepted. My first Woppaburra meeting was at the palms in Brisbane, that’s where I met Christine Doherty, for a while there she was very supportive providing guidance when needed. Everything was new & overwhelming & after a while I reluctantly stepped down. A few years later my cousin Debbie Richards who at that time was our family representative asked me to get back onboard as we spoke, I remembered something my Grandmothers sister (whom I also called Nan) Ethel Richards would always say “We do not own the land. we are here as the care takers”. I also believe strongly that we are guided by our ancestors so with that i knew it was my time. I am proud to hold such a significant role, experiencing being on country continuing to live, learn love Woppaburra through caring for mother land.
I also believe that “outsiders” must acknowledge Cultural Protocol – Traditional Owners are always the first port of call when proposing any activities or engaging in any way with Woppaburra country. People at all levels, be they traditional owners, stakeholders, partnerships, the broader public, should communicate effectively, engage respectfully, and collaborate to achieve the best results of our projects, activities and workshops.
I strongly believe that culture is not limited to a ‘country’ culture defined by lines on a map. Culture is ‘the way we do things around here’ and consists of learned behaviors and norms shared in a group. It is crucial we include our youth to ensure this is not forgotten.