Our Way Stories | The Elders Book Project
The project will record the life stories of 10 Elders from the Bundjalung nation / Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
It has been inspired by the energy and passion of Dale Roberts – a local Aboriginal woman who has worked along side our region’s most respected and loved Elders.
Dale said, ‘Ever since I can remember people were asking me, for years, about how to get in touch with Elders and speak to our Aboriginal mob’.
‘Later I started hearing the stories from my friend Magpie, I just thought to myself, what a wealth of information he has to give and he wanted to give it so generously. I just wondered, if he doesn’t get to pass it on, where does it go?’
The Elders have embraced this project and Dale – understanding that it is a unique opportunity to have their lives recorded and shared with current and future generations of Aboriginal and non Aboriginal Australia.
After consulting further with Elders it was felt that a project – recorded in English but with Aboriginal language peppered throughout – would produce a legacy that would retain and preserve elements of language while at the same time celebrating the extraordinary lives of Elders in our region.
‘In my view it is imperative that the stories be recorded from the Elders that want to share, to pass on information before they pass over and the stories are lost,’ said Dale.
The stories will be published in a book format accompanied by the stunning images of local photographer, Kate Holmes and distributed to local libraries and historical societies as well as Northern Rivers keeping places and the Bundjalung Language and Culture Nest in Lismore.
It is proposed that other copies of the book will be sold with proceeds returned to the Elders involved in the project.
image | photographer Kate Holmes
Editor | Dale Roberts
I have always had a great love and interest in our Indigenous culture and history and around 15 years ago when I moved back to Country I began to reconnect with the local Aboriginal community.
I attended all the cultural events I could get to and began introducing myself to the Elders. Out of these events and meetings we spoke a lot about sharing knowledge and stories, which evolved into both making a documentary for NITV and studying to become an IT teacher and teach in the Aboriginal portfolio of TAFE.
I was teaching computer basics out on community in Box Ridge, Tabulum, Casino and Lismore. I developed a very simple way to teach the basics, through digital story telling. One of the classes I took was the Bundjalung Elders Council, who had a great time sharing their stories and learning some basics on computer. Through this and some funding that TAFE sourced, a team of us put together a book of Elder’s stories. They were so happy and proud to be acknowledged, and the book became a prototype for Our Way Stories.
After discussing ideas for a book project with some of the Elders from Casino to Fingal Heads, we set up the project with four Elders who would be the cultural advisors and myself as the project manager. These Elders helped contacting other Elders that they knew and checked through the stories and content to give their feedback on protocol and cultural issues.
With support from Arts Northern Rivers and some funding, we went ahead with the project, which has resulted in 10 stories from our Aboriginal elders from the Northern Rivers area.
Photographer | Kate Holmes
Elders Real Estate Bangalow & Elders Real Estate Lennox Heads
Dr Andrew Binns | Jan Barham |Stephanie Boldeman | North Coast Community Housing
Arts Northern Rivers would like to also thank Pozible and over 150 individuals who supported the project through generous donations.