Leadership Fellows in Yorta Yorta
During the final module in Shepparton, the Melbourne Poche Indigenous Health Leadership Program explored the theme Relationships.
Throughout Australia, the Yorta Yorta people are well known for their activism, such as the 1939 Cummeragunja (Cummera) Walk-Off, which saw 200 residents protest the oppressive living conditions and government control at the station.
We were fortunate to meet Uncle Colin Walker at Cummera, where he offered a Welcome to Country and a smoking ceremony for the Fellows. He shared stories about his connections to the community and the many lessons he has learned about leadership throughout his life.
Uncle Colin's warmth and grounded teachings set the scene for a week full of many learnings.
Throughout the module, the Fellows had the privilege of hearing from a variety of community leaders who shared valuable insights about their own leadership experiences.
Uplifting conversations with senior community leaders Uncle Paul Briggs OAM and Aunty Felicia Dean, as well as Dr Karen Ferguson, Dr Raelene Nixon and Dr Tui Crumpen, UoM Post-doctoral Fellows, PhD graduates and Program Alumni, all exemplified strong, visionary leadership.
They emphasised the significance of building relationships within the community and the importance of resilience during challenging times.
Tireless efforts to create positive change
The community showed great generosity to the group with their time and knowledge. Meeting local community people was truly inspiring, as their stories showed a great deal of humility, patience, strategic thinking and innovation. It was heartening to see their tireless efforts to create positive change for their communities and future generations.
The community ‘narrative’ that became apparent reflected some of the themes explored in the classroom by the Fellows. The challenges and opportunities of bringing people on a journey and understanding the notion of change as it relates to trust, identity and loyalty. And the role of spirit in leadership and its daring nature to be humble and kind.
Strategic and innovative leadership
After reflecting on all three modules, it has been reaffirmed that Indigenous people in both Australia and Canada, despite their diversity, share similar cultural values and approaches to leadership.
The Fellows were inspired by the innovative leadership of Indigenous communities in their work toward self-determination, sovereignty, and better outcomes for their mobs, even in the face of under-resourcing and poor government policies. Visionary thinking and inclusive strategies for change through social and economic policy were key.
Indigenous communities are mobilising sophisticated ways to exert their influence and bring about positive change.
Applications for the 2024 Melbourne Poche Indigenous Health Leadership Program will open soon. Follow us on LinkedIn to find out when!