Margaret Bell honoured with The Kangaroo Cloak
Margaret Bell honoured with The Kangaroo Cloak, Presented on the 7th of December 2022 by Uncle Wes Marne AO.
Each Nation has a story, each Nation has a dreaming, each Nation has its own customs, and each Nation has a protocol.
With history, customs, and lore lost many First Nations people have continued using Kangaroo skins in many ways.
Kangaroo skins are used in performances, for Corroboree's, celebrations (births, coming of age, milestones, weddings), or used in traditional practices i.e., rug/blanket, protection from weather (rain), clothing, water carrier.
In conversation, Dharug and First Nations Elders living on Dharug Country spoke of thanking Margaret for the Chain Reaction Foundation 20-year Anniversary. Many things were suggested, the most common was a presentation of status, of love, of knowledge, of thanks, of skin. The elders spoke about times they were presented with thanks by communities in which they lived, worked, and supported over time. Uncle Wes Marne AO expressed his gratitude for having known and worked with Margaret for over the 20 years, it was he who would say "what do you give someone that gives so much? Our Respect." It was then decided that one way to honour Margaret in the way of culture was to present her with a piece of her story that she has so willingly shared with our community.
Margaret has dedicated over 60 years of her life to the social cohesion. She is a Human Rights activist and worked closely with Charles Perkins during the Freedom Ride movement.
Margaret established the Chain Reaction Foundation in 2002, thus creating Mt. Druitt Learning Ground after a series of long unhurried conversations with our Dharug Elders, First Nations Elders living on Dharug Country and community leaders. Today, Mt Druitt Learning Ground provides a wellbeing and engagement program for at risk young people. The Learning Ground program is also available in schools.
Margaret strongly believes that Holistic Education is the only way forward to building a stronger, more sustainable future for all.
Bandarr (Kangaroo) skin – Artwork by Millmullian (Laurance Magick Dennis) of Milan Dhiiyan
"The five circles represent her 5 children. there will be baby platypus circling each of the five circles to represent the grandkids & great grandkids. Auntie Gloria Matthews gave Margaret Bell the totem of the Platypus in 2011 saying " Margaret wears the skin of many people)
The Aboriginal tools - coolamon, digging stick and bundi represent her legacy standing for justice for our families and community."
Coolamon – Represents warmth and nurturing spirit.
Digging Stick – Symbolises taking care and providing for others.
Bundi – Represents protective instinct and nature.
Large Platypus – The protecter spirit given to Margaret as her guide in this life, at each stage of her life, in each space/Country she has lived and connected with.
Small Platypus – Represents each Grandchild today and each grandchild to come, as they embody the lessons, learning, and life of the Platypus (Margaret).
5 connected circles – Symbolise Margarets 5 children, each their own unique person and each strongly connected to the other.
Meeting Place – Represents Mt. Druitt Learning Ground, the long unhurried conversations to create a space for all to connect the disconnected.
The Waterways – Symbolises life, learning, and time. Margaret moves like the water, freely, gently, and forward.
Dots – Represent the lives impacted by Margarets life's work.