Meet Aunty Dawn, a Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder who facilitates healing circles with her small business Kani Mapali, as well as designing landscape circles and is also an artist.
Her business is called Kani Mapali which means ‘lots of talking and storytelling.’ The healing circles are designed for indigenous and non-indigenous people and Aunty Dawn offers structured and flexible sessions in art, Aboriginal cultural knowledge, yarning and healing.
This project is very close to Aunty Dawn’s heart and she is continuing the service work to the Tasmanian community that members of her family have been called to do for generations. It is this long history of service that has motivated Aunty Dawn to her small business, Kani Mapali.
“I feel that I have always wanted to helped people. My Great Aunty was the first Aboriginal teacher to teach children in the Bass Strait and my mother looked after children in her old age. This gift has come from them to me. I just had to get out there and do it, but they motivated me to take that first step.”
Read about Aunty Dawn’s business journey.
Meet Aunty Dawn
The circle was started in 1996 by my son. He worked for the Drug and Alcohol Services and the Launceston General Hospital. He has moved to the mainland now and he asked me to continue the circle. It is lovely that a young one has passed on a business and the people that he has worked with to an elder. I will continue with this now and then pass this on to one of my grandchildren. It is a family thing.
Growing up as a young girl I did a lot of different jobs. I worked in the Tasmania Education Department, the Aboriginal Legal Service, Missing Persons in Victoria, Drug and Alcohol Services and many other various roles.
My program is built on strong relationships, trust and respect that is free from racism. I have been through so much of it as a young girl growing up and my son experienced it at football.
It is an opportunity that will enhance the community life as well. The harmony will provide a simple and creative opportunity for people and their expression of storytelling. It will increase confidence and communication.
The business journey of Kani Mapali
I design circles for different organisations. For example schools, having a healing circle where they can invite I elders to talk with the children in the circle where everyone is respected and heard.
The circle impacts on our thoughts and our behaviours and our connectedness and reconciliation. If we lose our identity, we lose everything. Culture is not a genetic or biological thing, it is a lens through which we see the world. There are other non-Indigenous cultures which are going through the same thing as us and it is important to share this love with other cultures as well. Together we can make it a better and a safer place to live.
I feel that I have always wanted to helped people. My Great Aunty was the first Aboriginal teacher to teach children in the Bass Strait and my mother looked after children in her old age. This gift has come from them to me. I just had to get out there and do it, but they motivated me to take that first step. My family and I have always had a good relationship. We sit down and we talk about things. I’m there for them and they are there for me. They are really supportive of me and my project.
Working with Many Rivers
I looked up and read about Many Rivers and then I got in touch with Penelope. She has been such a backbone to my business. She travels and she’s always on time. Even though she travels for hours, if she says she will be there – she will be there on time so she is awesome. She makes me feel so comfortable sitting down and talking with her because she doesn’t put herself above me. We speak on the same level which is what it is all about.
We talk about cashflow, business planning, all of it! As a matter of fact, I spoke with Penelope today. I think I need a helper because the travelling is so costly and time consuming. I can pay someone to come in. I know that this circle is going to go a long way. It is passion that drives me.
The challenge for me is facing mental health within the circle and getting people to talk about their deep hurt. It is not their fault whatever happened to them. To guide them through that. They need to look at their roots and see where these challenges come from rather than blaming themselves. That is the healing side of the circle. I find that personally a bit challenging.
The biggest success that I have had so far is through the Catholic School because they are committed to reconciliation. I do a lot of work with them.
My future goal for me is to really put in a lot of hard work, put it out there and let people know that this program is there, and I am there if they need me – and to be recognised for this work that I do. This circle is really getting recognised.
Thanks Aunty Dawn
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