NAIDOC Week with the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group
We asked our audience, have you ever wondered what it means to be an Indigenous woman in the Northern Territory of Australia?
They, alongside us, were burning to ask some of the women from the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group (TWFSG) about their lives:
- What does it mean to be a Town Camper?
- How does your community support you?
- What worries you?
We were honoured to be able to speak with Shirleen, Sarah, Cecily, Connie and Kitana and have them share their stories and details of their lives with us. This NAIDOC week, we are excited to share those stories with you. Below, find what the women had to say.
Thank you to Shirleen, Sarah, Cecily, Connie, and Kitana for sharing their stories with us.
Created in partnership with the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group.
Shirleen Campbell is the co-coordinator of the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group. Shirleen is a Warlpiri, Anmatyerre, Arrernte and Luritja woman. In 2020 Shirleen was Awarded the NT Local Hero Award in the Australia Day Awards for her work and advocacy in the prevention of violence against women.
We asked Shirleen what being part of TWFSG means to her:
“I guess from where we stand at the moment, we’re the voices and the influencers of our Town Camp communities. And we’re the lived experiences. We share the good work that we do, Yes, we’re the Tangentyere Women’s Family Group, and what we do is we advocate. We also want to help change policies.”
And what does being strong mean to you?
“TWFSG is what strengths look like, from the grassroots to its fruits on its tree. Women supporting women.”
“My name’s Nanette Kenny. I am from Alice Springs, Northern Territory. I joined TWFSG when I was about 19 years old. I am from Basso’s Farm Town Camp.”
We asked Nanette what her favourite thing about working with TWFSG is:
“My favourite thing about working with the Women’s Group is that we’re not alone in this. We’re all in this together. We’ve got support with the womens together. We stand up for each other. We stand up for the community to prevent domestic violence.”
What does it mean to be a Town Camper?
“Being a Bassos Farm Town Camper is peaceful and healthy and having a beautiful picnic weekend with the families.”
“My name is Kitana Shaw. I am a Kaytetye and Yunkuntjatjara woman from Alice Springs. I live with my dad and my dog and my little brother, Xavier. I worked with TWFSG since I was 16. I love teaching young troubled kids, mens and womens, how to ride horses and self-care with the horses. My passion is to teach young disabled kids how to ride horses.”
We asked Kitana what her favourite thing about working with TWFSG is:
“My favourite thing about working with the Women’s Group is where they build up my confidence, and my self-confidence, and to put confidence in other woman - in young man and young woman that need it. And it’s been good these past few years.”
What’s something that is a tradition in your community that we might not know about?
“When going to another Country, the visitor which is Aboriginal has to sign out to the Country, letting the ancestors and the land know who you are, and where you are from, cause if not you will get sick.”
What brings you joy?
“Asrel, my wild horse – I love giving him kisses.”
“My name is Sarah Rubuntja and I live in Alice Springs. I’m raised at Anthepe Town Camp. I live with my families at Anthepe Camp. I've been a part of the Tangentyere Family Violence Prevention Program since I was 13, and I joined TWFSG when I was 17.”
We asked Sarah what she worries about, and this is what she said:
“What’s worrying me is the young kids are not listening to the Older Peoples for their safety.”
“My name is Cecily Arabie. I am a proud Town Camper at Anthepe Camp. I joined TWFSG early this year. I just love working with the ladies and more about the Girls Can Boys Can program.”
We asked Cecily how women in her community support her and lift her up, and this is what she said:
“I get support from my whole families for what I do for my Town Camp and what’s best for everyone is one of us to be protected from DVO [Domestic Violence Orders].”
“I was born and bred in Alice Springs. I live at Mt Nancy Town Camp. I work at Tangentyere Youth Centre (Brown Street) and I’m a part of TWFSG. I started when I was 16, and I’m still going - I’ve been working for TWFSG for six or seven years now.”
We asked Connie what the best thing about being a Town Camper was:
“I love being a Town Camper! I have my close family with me, we get to be ourselves without any worry. We’re a close community, everyone knows each other.”
And what she worries about in her community:
“[I worry about] unwanted visitors causing disharmony to the community; and family violence.”