Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs - Week 8

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

Hello, my name’s N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs. I’m from the Boon Wurrung of the Yalukut Weelam, meaning people of the river.

Bec Reid

N’Arweet, where are you today?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

I’m in this beautiful area called St Kilda, which is known as Euro-Yroke, originally.

Bec Reid

Can you share with us a little bit about some of the everyday heroes in your life?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

It began with my mother, Carrie Briggs. Before that, it was Louisa Briggs. So, a lot of my journey of my great-grandmother has led me to where I am today. I was able to map her from here, or down near what we know as Mon Mon Marr or Point Nepean and then how she ended up in a little island off Tasmania called Gun Carriage Island and then made her way back home to her original country. I learnt about her journey and it strengthened my understanding what matriarchy is about and, particularly, black matriarchy or Indigenous knowledges. I was able to establish a place called The Boon Wurrung Foundation. It went through a number of iterations in that time. So, now, it’s The Boon Wurrung Lands and Sea.

Bec Reid

Can you tell us about some of your academic studies over the past years?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

In my academic journey, that was about understanding food, understanding the people and land, food. Started in the ‘70s when I was working at Monash. Being exposed – I had a very small number of black academics and activists in that period of time and then how that developed a hunger because my early stages of learning was very what if - year 8 and working in factories. My mother had passed, so, I had to then construct and keep understanding my heritage and my identity. I did mothercraft and childcare. Established the first Aboriginal childcare centre. Then, went on and worked at Monash and working with diverse groups of Indigenous peoples from around this nation. I needed to understand the Acts that I lived under. The Aboriginal Protection Act and then right to the Protection Act to the ’67 Referendum that gave me – or give the Aboriginal people all a recognition of people to be counted in the Census. Trying to make sense of this marginalising – that us, as Aboriginal people, as the deficit, not as the orchestrator as a creation of our journeys.

Bec Reid

And, N’Arweet, what is your greatest passion at the moment?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

Going to Native Title! No, we had to define society and the polity of society and what did that make up of people to be able to authenticate our roles and responsibilities to our families or our communities. I went through a few court cases and actually won and that’s put a lot of energy in and my family are very strong in supporting us. That also validated my right to make a claim to go to the next stage. When we talk about our purpose, it’s Wominjeka, means ‘come’. Ask to come and what is your purpose for coming and my purpose is to be challenged, to understand the challenge and how I have to move through that challenge with the families that made up the history of this woman, Louisa Briggs. So, and give these children a sense of that belonging to people and place. My biggest pride is my grandchildren. I have 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. This society will continue on through all the adversities that a lot of my family and ancestors went through. I’m going to introduce you to a song introduced to me by my cousin, Beryl Carmichael, when we did the Louisa Briggs memorial.

Beryl Carmichael

I’m Beryl Carmichael and I’d like to thank you for letting me share my great-grandmother’s song with you. This song is very special because grandmother - great-grandmother Louisa Briggs. After she was kidnapped several times until she was 16 years of age. When she finally thought she’s going to settle into Tasmania forever but then she got married to Briggs, her husband, and he knew that she wanted to come home so he decided he’d get a boat. Just a normal boat for them and try to bring her back to her homeland, to Boon Wurrung nation out of Melbourne, around Melbourne. So, they got in the boat with their few belongings and, as they sailed out into Bass Strait – he rowed out into Bass Strait, when they got to the middle, Louisa, because she was pregnant as well with their first child, she stood up in the boat and she sang a farewell song to her homeland because she came to know Tasmania as their second homeland as well and, so, this is the song she sang and I’d like to share it with you all now.

[Beryl Carmichael sings]

When she sang her song, she lay down in the boat and her husband delivered their first baby. So, she made it home to Melbourne, back to her homeland. My mum used to sing this song continuously for us. This is how I come to know so much of the life of Louisa Briggs, my great-grandmother and I’m so proud that I listened to my mum because I know she missed her family as well when she came out to live in New South Wales with my dad, Jack Kelly. Thank you all.

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Boon Wurrung Elder, N'arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM was shocked to find Aboriginal people’s existence ignored when she first started school.

Visit Tanya Kernaghan's website: www.facebook.com/boonwurrungfoundation/

Read her Performer Profile.

 

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Victorian Seniors Festival Reimagined 2020

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs - Week 8

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

Hello, my name’s N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs. I’m from the Boon Wurrung of the Yalukut Weelam, meaning people of the river.

Bec Reid

N’Arweet, where are you today?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

I’m in this beautiful area called St Kilda, which is known as Euro-Yroke, originally.

Bec Reid

Can you share with us a little bit about some of the everyday heroes in your life?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

It began with my mother, Carrie Briggs. Before that, it was Louisa Briggs. So, a lot of my journey of my great-grandmother has led me to where I am today. I was able to map her from here, or down near what we know as Mon Mon Marr or Point Nepean and then how she ended up in a little island off Tasmania called Gun Carriage Island and then made her way back home to her original country. I learnt about her journey and it strengthened my understanding what matriarchy is about and, particularly, black matriarchy or Indigenous knowledges. I was able to establish a place called The Boon Wurrung Foundation. It went through a number of iterations in that time. So, now, it’s The Boon Wurrung Lands and Sea.

Bec Reid

Can you tell us about some of your academic studies over the past years?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

In my academic journey, that was about understanding food, understanding the people and land, food. Started in the ‘70s when I was working at Monash. Being exposed – I had a very small number of black academics and activists in that period of time and then how that developed a hunger because my early stages of learning was very what if - year 8 and working in factories. My mother had passed, so, I had to then construct and keep understanding my heritage and my identity. I did mothercraft and childcare. Established the first Aboriginal childcare centre. Then, went on and worked at Monash and working with diverse groups of Indigenous peoples from around this nation. I needed to understand the Acts that I lived under. The Aboriginal Protection Act and then right to the Protection Act to the ’67 Referendum that gave me – or give the Aboriginal people all a recognition of people to be counted in the Census. Trying to make sense of this marginalising – that us, as Aboriginal people, as the deficit, not as the orchestrator as a creation of our journeys.

Bec Reid

And, N’Arweet, what is your greatest passion at the moment?

N’Arweet Carolyn Briggs

Going to Native Title! No, we had to define society and the polity of society and what did that make up of people to be able to authenticate our roles and responsibilities to our families or our communities. I went through a few court cases and actually won and that’s put a lot of energy in and my family are very strong in supporting us. That also validated my right to make a claim to go to the next stage. When we talk about our purpose, it’s Wominjeka, means ‘come’. Ask to come and what is your purpose for coming and my purpose is to be challenged, to understand the challenge and how I have to move through that challenge with the families that made up the history of this woman, Louisa Briggs. So, and give these children a sense of that belonging to people and place. My biggest pride is my grandchildren. I have 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. This society will continue on through all the adversities that a lot of my family and ancestors went through. I’m going to introduce you to a song introduced to me by my cousin, Beryl Carmichael, when we did the Louisa Briggs memorial.

Beryl Carmichael

I’m Beryl Carmichael and I’d like to thank you for letting me share my great-grandmother’s song with you. This song is very special because grandmother - great-grandmother Louisa Briggs. After she was kidnapped several times until she was 16 years of age. When she finally thought she’s going to settle into Tasmania forever but then she got married to Briggs, her husband, and he knew that she wanted to come home so he decided he’d get a boat. Just a normal boat for them and try to bring her back to her homeland, to Boon Wurrung nation out of Melbourne, around Melbourne. So, they got in the boat with their few belongings and, as they sailed out into Bass Strait – he rowed out into Bass Strait, when they got to the middle, Louisa, because she was pregnant as well with their first child, she stood up in the boat and she sang a farewell song to her homeland because she came to know Tasmania as their second homeland as well and, so, this is the song she sang and I’d like to share it with you all now.

[Beryl Carmichael sings]

When she sang her song, she lay down in the boat and her husband delivered their first baby. So, she made it home to Melbourne, back to her homeland. My mum used to sing this song continuously for us. This is how I come to know so much of the life of Louisa Briggs, my great-grandmother and I’m so proud that I listened to my mum because I know she missed her family as well when she came out to live in New South Wales with my dad, Jack Kelly. Thank you all.