What the Speakers had to say
from left: Candita Cutmore, Lisa Waters, Uncle Colin Ahoy, Oorala Aboriginal Centre Director Gregory Davison, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Annabelle Duncan and Ali Archibald
Candita Cutmore - Ceremony MC
Candita Cutmore is an Anaiwan woman from Armidale. She worked in various roles within the financial services sector before joining Student Success department at UNE, as a Customer Service Officer. Candita is family orientated with two children who are the inspiration for her increased interest in youth development within the Armidale community.
Good Morning Ladies and gentleman. My name is Candita Cutmore and for those who don't know me, I am the Aboriginal Customer Service Officer within the Advanced Standing Team here at the University of New England. I am also a proud Anaiwan woman who was born and raised here in Armidale. It is my pleasure to welcome you here this morning and I would like to thank you for joining us today in celebration of the 2018 NAIDOC festivities. It is a great honour to introduce this year's theme - 'Because of Her, We Can!'.
As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played — and continue to play - active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels. They are our mothers, our elders, our grandmothers, our aunties, our sisters and our daughters. Sadly, Indigenous women's role in our cultural, social and political survival has often been invisible, unsung or diminished.
For at least 65,000 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have carried our dreaming stories, songlines, languages and knowledge that have kept our culture strong and enriched us as the oldest continuing culture on the planet. They have marched, protested and spoken at demonstrations and national gatherings for the proper recognition of our rights and calling for national reform and justice. They did so while caring for our families, maintaining our homes and breaking down cultural and institutional barriers and gender stereotypes. Our women did so because they demanded a better life, greater opportunities and in many cases equal rights for our children, our families and our people. Their achievements, their voice, their unwavering passion give us strength and have empowered past generations and paved the way for generations to come.
Because of Her, We Can! —Before I introduce our first guest speaker, I have been asked to share with you what this year's theme means to me. 'Because of Her, We Can!' evokes many emotions and can 'portray many different meanings. For me personally it brings enormous pride. Because of my ancestors, grandmothers, aunties and most of all my mother, I now live in a world where there is endless opportunities. Their strength, determination, perseverance, wisdom, support and most importantly their love has helped me become the woman I am today. Because of all of you 'I can'. It's this message that I want to teach my own daughter that with every stepping stone we face in our life's journey, is now without limitations but merely measured by our own determination and will to succeed within our own dreams and aspirations.
Lisa Waters - Community Speaker
Lisa Waters is a proud Anaiwan woman, born in Armidale and a descendant of the Gomeroi people. She is currently employed with the Ability Links Program for Pathfinders, working with people with disabilities, their families, carers and friends. With a passion for the community Lisa is involved with the Narwan Eels committee, PCYC boxing program and NAIDOC planning committee. Lisa believes that “everybody has a story to tell, it takes a big person to get up in front of a crowd and own it”.
Distinguished guests, UNE staff, Aboriginal Elders, Community Members and my mob, welcome. Thanks for joining us here to today to help UNE & the Oorala Aboriginal Centre celebrate NAIDOC week, which is the first of many events that are held within our community.
Firstly I would like to thank Uncle Greg and the Oorala Aboriginal Centre staff, together with the University of New England for inviting me here today to reflect on what this years NAIDOC theme means to me 'Because of Her, We Can!'.
I am a proud Anaiwan woman born and bred here in Armidale also a descendant of the Gomeroi people. When I thought about this years theme 'Because of Her, We Can!'. I started to think about all of the amazing women that have made an impact on my life and helped me along the way. I immediately thought about my Grandmother — Lola Waters, Mother —Jill Ahoy and Aunties — Annette, Christine and Rebecca Waters. These women raised me to be the strong woman I am today, to me they were many things which included my nurse, my doctor, my teacher, my chef and my sporting icons and so much more, no they are not qualified but in my eyes they are and most importantly they are my Mothers which is a job that I consider to be way more important than any profession.
I then further reflected on some of the phenomenal women within my community that were apart of my education such as Aunty Pam Widders who was the Aboriginal Education Officer at Drummond Primary School and Aunty Deb Walford together with Aunty Lyn Walford who were both the Aboriginal Education Officers at Duval High School. These women further educated and supported me not just about school but about life in general.
I then started to think about some of the women who assisted me with regards to my employment such as Aunty Sandra Widders, who was one of my biggest supports in helping me with applying for many employment opportunities within the community not to mention she is one of the women who also helped raise me and supports me with everything I do.
Which then brought me to my next point. I have had many non Aboriginal women be apart of my walk such as Senior Constable Kate Ivey who was the Police Officer that helped me break free from Domestic Violence, Pearl Holmes who I work with and have some deadly yarns with regularly that offers me some amazing advice, Sarah Clarke who I have just recently met who shares the same passion and vision as I and Vickie Knox who continues to encourage me and that I have a great friendship with. As for me it is important that I acknowledge these women as they have played their part in supporting me with my journey.
It would be wrong of me to not make mention of my awesome Sisters — Candita, Katherine, Jeanette & Amarlie, who too have played a big part within my life they are my best friends that I have shared many tears of happiness and sadness with, many secrets, many dance competitions, endless support and advice but the most precious gift our children.
I reflected on our community and thought about the large family groups of Aboriginal women that have paved the way for our people in the housing, education, legal, political, employment and health spaces just to name a few, without offending anyone I would like to acknowledge the Quinlan Sisters, The Briggs sisters, the Archibald sisters, the Widders sisters, the Green sisters and the Lovelock sisters, these are just a few.
I also want to pay recognition to the women within our community that have made an impact on a personal level such as choosing to stay at home to raise their families, those that have helped out with sorry business, volunteering at community events and within our local service, providers.
To all of these amazing women and other phenomenal women within our community I say thank you, It's because of you I can, I did and I will.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your NAIDOC week, thank you for listening.
Ali Archibald - UNE student
Ali Archibald was born in Armidale and raised in Guyra, where she attended school. She is the youngest of six children, with four older brothers and one older sister. Two of her older brothers studied at University, and encouraged Ali to do the same. Ali is currently completing a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Finance here at UNE. Ali is following her love for all things finance.
Good morning everyone, my name is Ail Archibald, I'm a second-year business student majoring in finance. I was born in Armidale and raised in Guyra, where I still currently live.
When I think about the inspirational woman in my life, two women come to mind, my Mother Beth and my older sister Erin. As most people would say, my mother is the most incredible person I have ever met. When I was younger, I wasn't always able to comprehend the extent that my mum went to, to ensure all her children were happy, healthy and living their best possible life. My mother had six children, 4 boys and 2 girls and to provide for us she put her life on hold, sacrificing her career and some if not most of her goals she held as a young adult.
She continues to support everything my siblings and I do, uplifting us in every situation and still faces daily challenges to ensure we continue to have the best life possible. She is the perfect reflection of the mother I one day hope to be.
My older sister Erin, is nothing short of the most inspiring sister possible. Erin is the commanding officer and senior instructor of the command training wing at the army school of transport in Puckapunyal. She has spent a year in Afghanistan under Operation Slipper and travelled to Germany for a year as an exchange student. Erin wanted to expand her knowledge base and continue her love for English so she decided to enrol in University and is currently an UNE external student funded by the defence assistance study scheme, studying a bachelor of arts majoring in English and writing. Erin continues to inspire me by pursuing her dreams while still playing a major role in the Australian Army.
Without the continuous support from both my mother and sister, I would not be where I am today, pursuing my dreams to the extent I am today.