Staff Profile: Erica Smits

Staff Profile: Erica Smits

I’m Erica Smits (nee Hall). My father is Keith (Chub) Hall from Walgett. I am a proud Gnumilroi woman born in Armidale but grew up in Sydney and then my family moved to the Central Coast when I was 12. I have lived here ever since.

My role models are my parents and all my aunties and uncles. I would not be where I am today without their love and support. As a child my Dad would always take me back home to Walgett. We would go camping on the Namoi River where my aunties would teach me traditional language and uncles would teach me how to fish.

My Father has been my biggest influence and was always heavily involved in Land Rights in NSW and supporting our people. The person who got me involved with NSWALC was Eastern Zone Director Steve Merritt who hired me as the LALC Support Officer and has always supported me and helped me grow within the organisation.

I have been with NSWALC for just over four years. For most of that time I have been the Local Aboriginal Land Council Support Officer for the Eastern Zone Office which covers the Sydney/Newcastle region. However, I have recently taken up a position with the new Chair Roy Ah See as his Executive Assistant. I am really excited for this new chapter of my career to learn all I can and gain more experience to continue to assist NSWALC and the Aboriginal people of NSW.

I love working and assisting the community. I am a very outgoing person and happiest when I can help our mob.

With the assistance of NSWALC I completed many training courses. This has helped me develop my skills and advance my career, which in turn has helped me assist the network. The most notable achievement was last year when I received the 2014 Encouragement Award from the NSWALC CEO, which was awarded to me in recognition of my commitment and contribution to the network. This reassured me that what I do does make a difference and this is why I love what I do.

The greatest achievement for our mob in NSW recently has to be the march at Parliament House in Sydney to protest the Crown lands Amendment Bill. It was so inspirational to see how many people turned up to protest. The opportunity to be involved in this empowering event was something I will be retelling to my children, grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren.

I believe it’s so important to get involved in your LALC for not only yourself but for future generations. Our culture needs to continue to thrive and without our LALCs and the involvement of our mob, our culture will start to diminish and our future will not be as bright as we hope it will be.  Please join a LALC today to continue to keep our culture alive.