Kathy Long back home at Pirlangimpi
In late August 2019, Kathy Long joined TITEB as the Women’s Activity Coordinator in Pirlangimpi. She replaced Cheryllee Hodgson, just as the women returned from the 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.
Kathy grew up in Pirlangimpi and has strong family ties there. Her parents were members of the stolen generation, taken in the early 1940s from their parents in Daly River and the Central Australia region and brought to Garden Point mission, also known as Pirlangimpi.
“Mum and dad grew up with the Tiwi people, who became their adopted family, they got married here and had nine children. They have lived here in total for about 50 years,” Kathy said.
In 1995 Kathy uplifted her family from Darwin to Pirlangimpi, where she raised her two young kids for eight years. Kathy returned 15 years later to care for her ailing father Jack, who recently passed in July of 2019. She is very happy to be back.
Since starting her new role at TITEB, Kathy has been focused on learning the CDP QESA training (systems and processes) and getting to know the women. She is grateful for the support and knowledge of local community members.
For Kathy it has been a process of understanding what activities are suitable for women at different ages and stages of life, and what sort of support they need. The older women are highly skilled in artwork and printing, and the veggie garden seems to take care of itself. In other areas such as pattern making and sewing, further training may be required.
“People come and go, they leave gear behind, but we need the skills and knowledge here too,” said Kathy.
“I’m so lucky to have Fiona Puruntatameri as our supervisor, who has worked with both Deb and Sherylee (past coordinators) and has a lot of knowledge.”
According to Kathy, the older women are more involved in art and how that ties in with life and culture. Some of them will pass that down. The younger women enjoyed the Mums and Bubs workshop as, even though a lot of them don’t have babies, they are always looking after younger family members.
“It’s about getting ideas and trying to find something that works for everyone – that’s the challenge,” Kathy said.
“But I have grandchildren now and this is about them.”