Lena-Pearl is a proud Ngarrindjeri-Narungga woman. The mother-of-three is leading by her grandmother’s example as she nurtures her own children in a home filled with love.
One word sticks in Lena-Pearl’s mind when summing up the influence of her grandmother Natalie.
“Resilience – that’s what really stands out for me,” she says.
“My grandmother plays the big role in our family – and it’s about love. She’s the one that keeps us altogether.
“She has a lot of patience and wisdom, and she’s just got a caring heart.
“It’s those little things that form a great foundation in your life.”
Despite enduring so much grief and loss, Natalie has stood strong as the back-bone of Lena-Pearl’s family.
She credits her grandmother for the values she today instils in her 12-year-old daughter and young sons.
“Family is everything to my grandmother, and she has given me that same identity and connection.
“It’s that connection that brings a sense of warmth and nurturing, and the feeling of being surrounded by family is something that is very strong for myself and my children.
“There’re reasons why my grandmother is still here today. I wouldn’t be the parent/woman I am if it wasn’t for her and the love she provides.”
This year, NAIDOC Week is celebrating the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in our past, present and future.
For Lena-Pearl, the week is a time for the nation to come together as one, to not only reflect on our history and how it came about, but to celebrate it too – and with respect.
“It’s all about unity; there are so many more non-Aboriginal people who are understanding the past and the present.
“We can celebrate what we are achieving and where we are today in a positive light.”
An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Engagement Officer at headspace Port Adelaide, Lena-Pearl says she is most grateful for family and friends, especially her “sister girls”.
“Like my grandmother, they are a big influence in my life. We support each other by expressing our emotions, talking about real life issues; it doesn’t matter whether it’s about parenting, our jobs, relationships or family issues.
“I know I’m not alone because of the connection we have as Aboriginal people – I can always rely and lean on them to lift my spirit up.’’
Lena-Pearl says their friendship will forever be bound by the cultural background they share.
“My sister girls – Aboriginal women raised in different homes but on the same journey to overcoming our history’s adversity by breaking the cycle with the support of each other – and that’s what community is all about.’’
NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.