Our weekend of events started with an invitation-only dinner on Friday night, 6 March, at Glen Helen Resort. On Saturday morning, we hosted our inaugural Q & A forum. Panel members were Dame Quentin Bryce, Hon Bess Nungarrayi Price MLA (Minister for Women’s Policy), Michele Castagna (Manager/Coordinator, Disability Advocacy Service Inc.) and Andrea Mason (Coordinator, Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council), Dale Wakefield (Coordinator, Alice Springs Women’s Shelter) and Sue Dugdale (Director, Susan Dugdale & Associates). Noelene Swanson (Executive Director, Strategy and Community Development, Department of Local Government and Community Services) was the event facilitator. Thanks so much to all participants, discussion was lively and informative.
Saturday evening we hosted our yearly Gala dinner at the ‘Star of Alice’, 170 people attended this dinner and we have to say it was a faultless night with perfect weather, amazing views, fantastic food and generally a very celebratory mood for International Women’s Day.
The weekend culminated in our community Open Day on Sunday afternoon, which featured strong and inspiring presentations by Senator Nova Peris and Dame Quentin Bryce.
The afternoon began with the Arrernte elders from Akeyulerre healing centre conducting a kwerte-ileme (smoking ceremony). Arrernte healing comes from the land. Healing methods are still the same as the old days and the elders continue this today and they are passing this on to the next generation.
Within the community Angangkere have a huge responsibility and are highly respected. Healing practices are varied and held within complex knowledge systems through story, song and kinship. Arrernte people use smoke from bush medicine plants such as Utnerenge (Emu bush) to heal and cleanse. The smoke is good for sick people, mothers and children, for self-cleansing and to cleanse a building. The smoke is restorative and helps to make people feel comfortable and strong in a place. They welcomed all who participated in this smoking ceremony to cleanse and bring strength for all of us on this day to celebrate women.
Elaine Peckham, Arrernte elder, generously welcomed all and acknowledged the Arrernte elders on whose country our celebrations were taking place. Local musicians Dian Booth and Bec Matthews performed on the day and Joy Taylor from local community radio station 8CCC shared with the 300 strong audience information on our collaborative Ordinary Women Extraordinary Lives radio series. More information on this radio series can be found here.