Indigenous Culture

2018 Torres Strait Fisheries Summit

2018 Torres Strait Fisheries Summit

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Fisheries team engaged Tagai Management Consultants (TMC) to work together to develop and facilitate the 2018 TSRA Fisheries Summit (Summit). TMC worked closely with the TSRA Fisheries team for just over a month prior to the event to refine and formalise the Summit.

Strengthening Business Vision through Family and Culture

Tagai Management Consultants (TMC) founder and Managing Director, Murray Saylor welcomed an opportunity to spend time with family and reconnect with culture during the Christmas holiday period  in order to culturally re-energise and revisit our Company business strategy.

Firstly, taking time out to revisit the roots of why I established TMC was timely considering the next business phase I am taking TMC into within Australia and in the global village. TMC was created based on experience, vision, Western education and my Torres Strait Islander cultural roots, and value systems. As a young business which has been operating for just under four years it was time to revisit from a cultural perspective TMC's business strategy and value systems, a cultural strategic planning process you may say.

I used two significant family events to conduct my personal revitalization and the business review process - Sailor/Sela/Saylor family reunion, Cairns, and 60th birthday celebration for my au bala (big brother) Jackson Sailor that was held in Bamaga.

Before I continue I would like to pay respects to my ancestors, elders, friends and families who inspire my entrepreneurial spirit to "maximise opportunities to make a difference."

2017 Sailor/Sela/Saylor Family Reunion

I will not go into detail about the intricacies of the whole celebration but I will share a little about the significance and my key takeaways from this important event.

In short I am from a VERY big Torres Strait Islander family which is connected to various Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal families but, whose roots originate from the Torres Strait Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Lifou Island (New Caleldonia). Yes, Lifou Island is part of the Loyalty Islands that various cruise ships frequent and some say is "paradise".

I am the great, great grandson of Dosiah Sailor who was the third eldest child (12 first generation children) in our massive family. Yes, my surname is spelt differently but there are various stories on why that is the case, I will not take up your time today explaining. The Reunion was the second family gathering to occur and it was full of colour, laughter, dance, song and vibrancy that is always memorable.

Key ReunionTakeaways

  • Identity and belonging strengthens entrepreneurial spirit
  • Cultural values will remain key business driver for TMC
  • Family and community are avenues to empower our next generations with new opportunities

Bamaga Celebration Odyssey

My odyssey to Bamaga from Brisbane involved 3 car rides, 2 flights, 3 stopovers and 1 4WD ride which was a adventurous start. My time in Bamaga was filled with laughs, sunburn, celebration, energy, adventures, meeting new friends, and catching up with family.

In the lead up to the various celebrations I had the opportunity with my brothers and uncles to go hunting and fishing in the waters at the northern tip of Australia. In short, it was incredible and besides a great sunburn I managed to nab the catch of the day. Woohoo!! All the produce we caught was contributed to the family celebrations.

I had the humbling opportunity to attend a nephews shaving ceremony and on the same day attend my au bala's 60th birthday celebration which provided an opportunity to meet relatives and new bala's and sissy's (brothers and sisters). 

I had discussions with various business owners, change makers, aspiring entrepreneurs who just want to contribute to the sustainability of their community, families and culture.  I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone I came in contact with in Bamaga for their "debi pasin" (respect).

Key Bamaga Takeaways

  • Our most inspiring entrepreneurs and change makers come from our communities
  • Sustainable community development has to be driven by local suppliers and change makers
  • Supplier diversity is a key avenue in business innovation - socially and commercially.

Where to now.....?

Once again I would like to thank all family, friends and community change makers I connected with during my family pilgrimage. I have brought back new ideas and strengthened focus to drive Tagai Management Consultants into the next phase of our journey in which we will continue to "maximise opportunities to make a difference" to our clients, and communities.

Key Takeaways from Journey

  • Identity and belonging strengthens entrepreneurial spirit,
  • Cultural values will remain key business driver for TMC,
  • Family and community are avenues to empower our next generations with new opportunities,
  • Our most inspiring entrepreneurs and change makers come from our communities,
  • Sustainable community development has to be driven by local suppliers and change makers, and
  • Supplier diversity is a key avenue in business innovation - socially and commercially.

If you are looking to work with a dynamic management consultancy who values empowering relationships, innovative solutions and achieving results contact Tagai Management Consultants today via our website www.tagaimc.com, email: murray@tagaimc.com or phone: +61 0400 280 856.

Author: Murray Saylor, Founder and Managing Director of Tagai Management Consultants

All content shared in this article is all rights reserved to Tagai Management Consultants, 2018, and cannot be used for any other purpose.

 

The journey to Uluru

I had the humbling opportunity to be part of the Torres Strait Islander delegation who shared the voice of Torres Strait Islander people at the recently held 2017 National Constitutional Convention (24-27 May 2017) otherwise known as the Uluru Convention.

But, my journey to Uluru started as a young boy living on Thursday Island, Torres Strait, Queensland with my family in the suburb of Rosehill. We were living with my grandfather Cook Sailor a WWII veteran with the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion, church leader, provider and hunter. Who during our time wading through the low tide shallows between Thursday Island and Hammond Island foraging to provide for our household, shared stories of the past, the importance and responsiblity of being a Torres Strait Islander, and member of our family. Life long lessons which sometimes I forgot and made mistakes, but held within my spirit and identity.

Houses at Rosehill, Thursday Island, Queensland

Houses at Rosehill, Thursday Island, Queensland

So as a I travelled with brothers and sisters on the Virgin Charter to Uluru with the Aboriginal flag draped in the walkway. I reflected on the Torres Strait regional dialogue, my fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates, my family, but it was the memory of the time with my grandfather which I kept repeating in my mind, even when the view of Uluru loomed on the horizon as we landed at the local airport.

Journey to Uluru

Journey to Uluru

The opening ceremony was powerful and an opportunity for a visible sign of unity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through dance and ceremony. It was in short awe inspiring and bittersweet at the same time as the realisation of the Northern Territory Intervention and other challenges Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are experiencing in our communities.

Connecting with my fellow Torres Strait Islander delegates following the ceremony, we all realised that we were one voice of the Torres Strait regional dialogue and that we had a responsibility to demonstrate "debe pasin" (respect), share through action our unity with Aboriginal brothers and sisters but also all our Australian countrymen and women.

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The Uluru Convention discussions and insights I heard and was part of were on the whole shared from not just intellect but from spirit of voices of the past, present and future. But, it was the voice of Aunty Allison a local elder which resonated with me as we were on her peoples' country and had to pay respects to the land we were meeting on. Aunty Allison's wisdom shared in her language and English was a firm reminder of why we were meeting but also that we need to respect, listen, be open and create action from the event.

Each day, I would enter the main meeting room and pay homage to the two immense flags which graced the walls of the room and my fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates. I shared in the conversations and respected each speakers views even the brothers and sisters who made the decision to walk out of the Convention and air their frustrations. Who through their passion forgot the wisdom and words of Aunty Allison whose peoples' had invited us on their country.

After three days of discussion and insights the Convention drafters composed "The Uluru Statement"

Our final action involved each of the Regional Dialogue delegations nominating three delegates (male, female and youth)  from their regions to be part of the Working Group to continue the journey and lead the campaigns.  Congratulations to all working groups members including for the Torres Strait Islanders, Ken Bedford, Rowena Bullio and Carla McGrath. But, the Uluru Statement and the Working Group are a presence but it will take ALL Australians in UNITY to create the sustainable change required.

On the last day in Uluru, I took time out to reflect and pay respects to the country I had the humble opportunity to work on and also absorb the magnitude of what I had been part of over the three days, and the people I had the pleasure of connecting with and learn from.

But, the whole journey for me was the cyclic memory and messages of my grandfather and other Torres Strait Islander relatives, friends and stories which I visualised on my Uluru journey. Because no matter where I walk within our global village as a business owner, community member, family member or as me I will always strive to empower and encourage sustainable, collaborative relationships to "maximise opportunities to make a difference" within our global village.

I would would like to pay respects to the Traditional custodians of the land the Uluru Convention was held, my fellow delegates and my Torres Strait Islander family who represented our people with honour, humbleness and respect. Au esoau

Humbled to share this moment with my families.

Humbled to share this moment with my families.

Murray Saylor - Founder & Managing Director of Tagai Management Consultants. 

 

Mabo Day Reflection - Black Community School

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the Mabo Decision and for me it is a reminder of my time with Uncle Eddie "Koiki" Mabo in the early 80's as a student of the Black Community School in Townsville established in 1973 and eventually closing down in 1985.  This blog is not about revisiting history but my personal journey as a proud Black Community School student.

I use to wait in anticipation with my bala's and sissy's at the Sailor residence in Gulliver for the familiar BEEP of the white coaster bus and the driver and Director, Uncle Koiki to usher us all onto the bus.  As the bus did its rounds and filled with other friends and relatives who joined in the laughter and being together.

I attended the Black Community School when it was over at the old Catholic precinct, South Townsville and when it moved to a small house at Boundary Street, Railway Estate. It was great learning how to read and write but also about Indigenous history in an environment that allowed me to express who I was with my 'pamle' (family).

Uncle Koiki and the "half pay' teachers were always around ensuring a positive balanced education (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) and passionate about our learning needs. I look back on those days with a warm smile and it acts a experiential reminder that it is important to strive towards our dreams against whatever barriers we face and keep in mind there are people who can assist and support us.

At the end of each action packed day at School, we would all pile onto the bus for the ride home to share our days journey at the Black Community School with our families. Our families along with Uncle Koiki decided to challenge the education system and send us to the Black Community School - thank you.

Thank you Mr Eddie "Koiki" Mabo and all those who supported him with the Black Community School, and for the gift of education and identity.

For more information on the Black Community School: 

 http://www.mabonativetitle.com/info/historyOfBCS.htm

Zulai Wan

Firstly, I would like to pay respect to my Torres Strait Islander ancestors, elders past and present, on this significant day in our history, Zulai Wan (July 1) otherwise known as the “Coming of the Light”. 

It has been approximately 143 years (July 1871) since my ancestor Dabad, an Erub warrior clan elder welcomed the London Missionary Society clergy and teachers at Kemus on Darnley Island (Erub).

The actions of Dabad cannot be under stated as he directly defied tribal law in letting the clergyman land and interact with the community.

What motivated Dabad to let the foreigners set foot on his island instead of having them for kaikai (food)? I ponder over this question from time to time and I am of the opinion the decision was for his people. Whatever his motives the acceptance of Christianity into Torres Strait led to profound changes that affected every aspect of ailan life, culture and lore. 

If it was not for Dabad I would not be sharing this blog. My great, great, great Athe (Grandfather) Sela was one of the South Sea Islander evangelist/teachers from Lifou Island, New Caledonia who accompanied Reverend Samuel MacFarlane to Erub. My Athe never returned home and settled on Erub with my equally as great Akka (Grandmother) Gemai, a local ailan omun (island woman).  They had many children who had children and you know how the story goes.

What does today mean to me? I revel in the community coming together to celebrate the “Coming of the Light”. I note the keepers of our lore and elders who are no longer with us. But, most importantly I think about the Torres Strait Islander leaders who thought outside the box for the betterment of their people – Dabad the Erub warrior clan elder and Eddie Koiki Mabo the Gardener. Sometimes, one has to think outside the box for change to occur.

Until next blog, the journey continues……