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Charmaine Nicholls

I was born in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) to a Croatian mother and Aboriginal father, and while I acknowledge and respect both parents’ heritages, I have always identified as a strong and proud Arranda woman from Central Australia.

My Grandmother (father’s mother) comes from Central Arranda, and my Grandfather (father’s father) is Luritja and comes from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands.

My family has been fortunate to have our land handed back which is Jaycreek, West of Mparntwe.

Jaycreek has many special places, but the more well-known ones are Stanley Chasm, Simpson Gap, Honeymoon Gap and the Twin Ghost Gums.

My family Dreaming is that of the Yeperenye (caterpillar), but in and around Mparntwe places such as Anthwerrke (Emily Gap), Akeyulerre (Billy Goat Hill), Ntaripe (Heavitree Gap), Atnelkentyarliweke (Anzac Hill) and Alhekulyele (Mt Gillen) have significant importance.

My family has other stories, and it is through these stories that the landscape of Mparntwe was shaped.

It was actually on Atnelkentyarliweke (Anzac Hill) as the sun was setting on Mparntwe, that Mr Harold Thomas (my grandfather’s family) was watching the sun go down over the West McDonald Ranges, and at that moment, he saw what we now see as the Aboriginal Flag!

In addition to my strong connection to my culture, I also have a great understanding and passion of comprehensive and holistic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care and have dedicated both my personal and professional life to this, but also many elements of the Social Determinants of Health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

I have worked in this sector for over 25-years now and have worked with many deadly and diverse people from all professions.

I always say that I was born into Aboriginal health, as many of my family have been instrumental in the early days of fighting to have the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC) (est. 1972), Congress Alukura (by our Grandmothers law/lore) (est. 1980s) and the Central Land Council established.  My grandmother’s brother was elected as the first deputy (1975) with Mr Charlie Perkins being elected Chair.

I am looking forward to working side-by-side with all the staff at Ngak Min Health, our CEO, CYP staff and staff from other entities to continue to work towards the Cape York Agenda!

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