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There is something powerful about women gathering together, and today was no exception.

Today we gathered with Pat Mamanyjun Torres of Mayi Harvests to learn about wattle and its story for First Nations people of the Kimberley. Pat shared about the different species of wattle, their properties and uses, and how to identify, harvest, winnow, roast and blend wattle seeds for safe consumption.

Pat - simply put - is a badass. She is a strong, sharp minded, well of wisdom, who is generous with her knowledge and incredibly humble. Pat shared how plants are a part of Women’s Lore. How they have skin names, and as part of this have heritage rights, ritual and ceremony associated with them. She reminded us the ways in which every.little.thing is connected.

One of the aspects I most appreciated deepening my understanding of - especially as a visitor to this land - is the protocols and processes to harvest and use plants in a way that values the Traditional Owners, custodians, and caretakers; The simplicity and importance of asking to harvest and/or use a plant, and involve people where appropriate or possible. This not only respects and values the knowledge and responsibilities of the Traditional Owners, but is an incredible opportunity to build relationship with Country, community, and culture, as well as preserve and protect cultural heritage and First Nations friends we care about.

This reinforces what I have learned and contour to learn here in Derby, the process is just as rich and important (perhaps even more so) than the outcome. Or as they put it here "doing things ‘right way.’"

What I also loved about today was seeing a group of women diverse in age and backgrounds gather to learn and share as part of the Red Shed: Derby Women's Collective. I love that this thought bubble has evolved into a living ‘idea’ and will continue to evolve as people contribute their own skills and perspectives. I also love having the ability to co-create and collaborate with my dear friend, housemate, and Derby family, Diana Cifrián Bueno, and that we have the opportunity to open our space to others.


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