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Exploring Reconciliation With Ingrid Cumming

Exploring Reconciliation With Ingrid Cumming

Santa Maria College stands on Noongar Whadjuk country. Point Walter is an area devoted to women’s business. So, it was a privilege for the Year 8 girls to host Whadjuk woman, Ingrid Cumming at Explore8 today.

Ingrid is a custodian and traditional owner of Whadjuk Noongar country and an internationally recognised leader in the process of reconciliation. She was a delegate to the UN International Conference for Women Leaders in 2013. Most recently, she addressed the global community of Wikipedia in Sweden after contributing to the creation of NoongarPedia.

NoongarPedia is a space where anyone can contribute to knowledge of Noongar people, place and culture. It is written in both Noongar and English to encourage understanding. In itself, it is an act of reconciliation. In this same spirit, Ingrid taught the Year 8 girls some words and songs in Noongar.

Ingrid currently works for the Water Corporation, however has worked with the Canning Council writing the first Cultural Inclusion Policy for the Council which has now been picked up by the Federal government as a start point for nation-wide development. She is also the CEO of a company she founded called Kart Koort Wiern, meaning Head, Heart, Spirit. It focusses on raising awareness for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal culture and reconciliation across Australia.

At Explore8 Ingrid focused on her business as an example of innovation. She taught the girls that they need to:

  • Develop an idea they are passionate about
  • Plan
  • Research
  • Accept failure and learn from it
  • Access help
  • Never give up

The girls found Ingrid’s story of the struggles of her early life compelling and inspiring. The perspectives she offered on both cultural awareness and business were fascinating.

At the end of the talk, Ingrid surprised the audience by presenting a scholarship to Year 7 student, Ainsleigh Passi. Ainsleigh is a proud Torres Strait Islander woman who has been heavily involved in the development of the College’s reconciliation space and acknowledgment plaque, at the entrance to the school.

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