“I’ve got such a passion and I’m so active in my community and I’m always encouraging mob to become a member of the Local Land Council.”
My name is Tina West and I’m 36 years old, I’m a Wiradjuri woman from Wellington, New South Wales, raised on Nanima mission. My grandfather is a West from Peak Hill, Trangie and my grandmother’s a Nolan from Dubbo.
I’m a current voting member of Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) but I’m also a non-voting member from Wellington LALC as well. I’m also Board member and Deputy Chairperson of Darkinjung.
We’ve got a strong economic base which benefits not just our members but all the Aboriginal people within our boundaries.
I was in shock when the community asked me to run for the Board. My initial thought was, no, I’ve only been on the Central Coast for 11 years and I haven’t paid my dues. But it’s an honour to know the Elders in this community thought highly enough of me to actually nominate me on the board.
Our Chair Joshua Toomey is younger than me, in his early 30’s. I think having a young Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson helps to attract younger members to the Land Council.
I’ve got such a passion and I’m so active in my community and I’m always encouraging mob to become a member of the Local Land Council. I’m trying to instill that in my kids and I think all of our community needs to instill that in their kids.
I’ve seen the progress that our Land Council has made on the Central Coast in the past 11 years, both internally with our members, as well as externally with our community.
The Land Council has brought our community together. We work as one and always got each other’s back. That’s something I can say we’re proud of over here. Where as, I know back home and a lot of other areas, I see a lot of division.
My ideas about Land Rights is that it’s given power back to us. We’ve been dispossessed for so long, everybody talks about self determination. I think the process of Land Rights and claiming Land has enabled us to take back our power. It helps build up our people both spiritually and culturally because it builds up their self esteem. We’ve gone from down people and dispossessed to a mob that stands high now.
Everybody knows our flags, our mobs everywhere. We marched down at Hyde Park during the Crown Lands Gathering when our right to claim Crown Land in Coastal areas was a risk. That sense of pride and self respect that our members got, is what I want for all our mob across the State.