My Journey Through Land Rights

Tina Williams is a Bundjalung woman from Lismore and member of the Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Land to me is cultural, belonging, and it’s my identity. Something I want to instil in my daughter and my grandson, that you do belong somewhere. Land is the most important part of my journey.

I was at the Gumbaynggirr native title celebrations at Nambucca Heads in the middle of August and that day was so significant. It showed how keeping our land and our language is so important.

And I want to keep that up in the Bundjalung nation. Gary Williams is my dear uncle, he has done so much with Gumbaynggirr language and I’d like to help the uncles and aunties up here to pass that language on. My dear pop Clive Williams was instrumental in keeping language alive and I was only a little girl but I still remember him talking about country and singing songs in Bundjalung.*

It’s so important to get young people involved in Land Councils. I see young people are becoming more involved and being elected on the Boards in some of the LALCs in my region.

At Ngulingah we know that even having two or three young people being elected on the board and contributing to the decision making is good and we need that across the network.

I was young when I began my journey in the land rights movement. I started with Ngulingah in Lismore. I got nominated by my late Dad. I was elected as Executive Secretary, then I was employed as coordinator for six years and that was a launching point for many things and a lot of the reasons as to why I’m sitting here as councillor. I love working with the mob.

In my current job as the elected Councillor for the North Coast region. I look after 13 Land Councils from Tweed Heads down to Grafton west to Tabulum and the communities in between. I am proud to be one of the two female Councillors on the board.

We’ve got to get our young people more involved, getting the word out there through social media, encouraging them to come along and find out more.

I just became a Facebook user, still very new at it but I’m excited too because it’s an amazing tool. Everyone’s on it , everyone sees it. And there are older people on there – older than my age!

Now we’re improving the network we just need to get that message out more clearly through social media and through ourmob.org.au but still face to face as well.

I say to young people stand up be strong but to listen and to learn from your mistakes – that’s the way I’ve gotten through it.