Awards a way forward

Winners of this year’s Kullari NAIDOC Awards, all humble but highachieving individuals, hoped their achievements would spread messages of reconciliation and the potential in other indigenous people.

Person of the Year was awarded to Professor Lyn Henderson-Yates, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Notre Dame and director of the Nulungu Centre for Indigenous Studies.

Prof. Henderson-Yates was Australia’s first indigenous vice- chancellor, appointed in 2009.

She was recognised for her vision of excellence in teaching, research and in valuing community-based indigenous knowledge, as well as the way her leadership, achievements and development of education and cultural immersion programs promoted reconciliation.

Josh Sibosado, a young advocate for prevention of youth suicide, both personally and through the Alive and Kicking Goals project, was awarded the Working with Youth Award, for representing hope in the community and showing courage in sharing his own story.

“I’ve suffered depression and been suicidal … now we’re doing our best to help fight this disease that’s killing everyone today,” he said as he accepted the award.

Father Matt Digges of the Broome Diocese accepted the Reconciliation Award, given for his dedication to the Kimberley’s youth, homeless and wider community.

In accepting the award, he spoke of how important it was for people wanting to work with the Kimberley communities to take the time to learn the language and culture of the people.

Sharon Davis, who is studying to pursue her dream of teaching in remote schools, won the Student of the Year Award.

She was the first indigenous student to receiving the Vice Chancellor’s Medal – School of Education for having achieved the highest results by an undergraduate student at any Notre Dame University.

Kullarri Patrol manager, BRAMS treasurer and councillor Peter Matsumoto won the Senior of the Year award for leadership and management skills which have earned him respect among young and old.

Youth of the Year was Tarnee Taylor, originally from Wyndham, who is an active member of Broome Girls Academy and a work experience student with Garnduwa Amboorny Wirnan.

Magabala Books chairperson Coco Yu won the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts Award for her role in securing multi-year funding for the local indigenous publisher, for her work at St Mary’s College and co-ordinating the Yawuru Language Program.

Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service committee member, student counsellor for St Mary’s and chair of the Aboriginal Legal Service, Rosie Sahanna-Pitt won the Contribution to Indigenous Affairs Award.

Apprentice and talented sportsperson Nathan Green of Looma won the Junior Male Sportperson of the Year, while Broome netballer and volunteer umpire Amber Hunter won Junior Female Sportsperson.

Cable Beach Primary School was awarded the Community Service Award for its strong community and cultural links.

Matthew Yanawana, a church leader, educator and native title partici-pant from Bidyadanga, won the Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award for being instrumental in getting indigenous children to attend the local school.

Young Leader of the Year was Aboriginal primary health care worker Mary Lane, who was the first Aboriginal nursing student to take a three-week block of clinical training in Northern Vietnam.

She is now the only Aboriginal nursing student at the University of Notre Dame in Broome.

Author and artist Brenton McKenna who has just published his first book, graphic novel Ubby’s Underdogs, won the Literary Award.

A leader in childcare for more than 20 years, Jody Blurton won the Excellence in Early Childhood Education Award.

Teacher of the Year Award was won by Bidydanga/La Grange primary teacher Simon Zuvich, while St Mary’s College Aboriginal Islander Education Officer Darren Puertollano won the AIEO of the Year Award.