For Our Elders – Naidoc Week 2023
04 Jul 2023
For Our Elders
Naidoc Week 2023
Linden Allan is a proud Murramarang Yuin woman and is a registered student with CUC Southern Shoalhaven. She is studying a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with the University of New England (UNE). She was recently asked to address one of our local schools for their NAIDOC assembly and we are glad to be able to provide a copy of her address here.
My name is Linden. I am a proud Murramarang woman. I pay my respects to Elders both past and present and to our future generations.
Throughout history there have been many proud and strong Aboriginal women who fought for their rights and what they believed in to pave the way for the next generation. The greatest influences in my life are my mum, nan, and aunties. They have built me up into the woman I am today.
Even in the not-so-distant past, when the learning and sharing of your Aboriginal heritage was still being suppressed, they would still teach me what they could, when they could, about our culture, traditions, and the little pieces of our language that they could remember, while imprinting on me how to be a strong Koori woman.
Growing up, and through most of schooling, I knew very little about my culture and heritage, as during this that time it was still a relatively taboo subject. It wasn’t until my teen years that I was able to start really learning about my ancestry – as my Elders slowly started to feel they could talk to us and teach us our culture with out as many restrictions and ramifications.
To think about how life was for the generations of our people who came before me, and even more so our Aboriginal women is heartbreaking. It was only through learning my nan’s, mum’s and aunties personal stories that gave me the determination to contribute to the betterment of my family and our people. It was through these strong women’s support and especially the backing and encouragement of my mum, that I felt strong enough and had the belief that I could do anything I put my mind to and become whatever I wanted to be.
This strength and continued support has helped throughout my entire life. If I didn’t have these strong women to look up to in my life, I don’t think I would have had the emotional tools necessary to complete my teaching degree in history and Aboriginal studies, or have the information needed to start to piece back together our local Dhurga language that had been all but lost to us and then have the courage to teach it in our schools. I am now an employee of our Local Aboriginal Land Council where I work with another 2 very strong and very proud Murramarang women. I hope to be able to learn even more about my culture and heritage during my time here as well as being able to complete another university degree in which I will be learning about Australian Indigenous Archaeology and Anthropology. My desire is to be able to pass on all I learn to the next generation, as was the tradition in our culture, to help pave the way for them to know more than I ever could, and that this practice of passing on our knowledge continues through the generations to come.
The best thing that has happened in my life, is becoming a mum myself to 2 beautiful girls. My dream is that I can help them to be stronger than me and hold their heads up high with pride in themselves, their cultural connections, their family, and me.