The Story of Naming Our Team
Shared by Vanessa Murdoch, Aboriginal Health Promotion Worker
Here is our story of how our Aboriginal Health & Wellbeing team has now become known as Ngarrang Gulinj-al Boordup, meaning “Caring for our mob in health and wellbeing” in Woi Wurrung language of the Wurundjeri people.
Our name change happened last year in yarning (talking) together in team meetings and at lunches, we realised that something was missing from our team’s identity. We recognised that we needed to incorporate traditional language within our team’s communication, as language is an important component that strengthens the connection to culture. The need for traditional language was brought further to our attention when we began developing our Aboriginal Health Model of Practice Framework and our Vision for appropriate and respectful program delivery.
Our framework model outlines important key components for applying cultural practices, protocols, and perspectives in making sure the cultural elements of identity, connection and belonging are embedded within our program. It is crucial to our delivery that we operate from a cultural lens, attain greater transparency and become more self-determined as representing and supporting Aboriginal community wellbeing. Therefore, the team agreed that the first step towards cultural inclusion was the rebranding of our name.
As an Aboriginal health team in the mainstream sector, we needed to have an identity that has cultural meaning and be representative of Community. What better way to show cultural respect and inclusivity than for the team to be renamed in traditional language!
Since the team is located and delivers services in the eastern region of Naarm (Melbourne) on Wurundjeri People’s country, it was fitting to choose the team name in the local Woi Wurrung language. We consulted with the Wurundjeri Tribal Council and submitted an application explaining our reasons for wishing to use traditional language, seeking their guidance to name our team. The timing of Wurundjeri Tribal Council’s response with language suggestions coincided with the news that our team was about to embark on a cultural study tour to New Zealand (Aotearoa – Land of the White Cloud). The rebranding of our team’s name provided the opportunity to be able to introduce ourselves in language on our tour of Aotearoa, which we welcomed with much enthusiasm and provided us with great pride of our team’s identity.
Traditional language plays a major part in all Indigenous cultures. It is fundamental to our cultural practices and identity. Traditional language is a sacred element and pivotal for cultural connection, as it helps Indigenous people connect to their country, creation stories, dance, art, kinship (matriarchy) and lore. The repatriation of language is critical to assist with strengthening community and cultural wellbeing and redress the fact that many Aboriginal people have lost their language due to the impacts of invasion and colonial settlement.
Hence, it was very important and vital for this name change to have taken place in acknowledging the significance of Aboriginal language and as being a beacon for the growth and strength of our team to shine around self-determination, empowerment of cultural inclusion.
So, when the team is working with our community members, reducing the Closing the Gap health and wellbeing inequalities, our community are able to identify with us, feel welcomed, safe and have a sense of belonging with us. When our team is representing at events, meetings, networking and building partnerships so forth, we stand up and talk with pride to say we are the ‘Ngarrang Gulinj-al Boordup’ team from EACH.
Please play this audio file to learn how to pronounce our new team name Ngarrang Gulinj-al Boordup.
On behalf of Ngarrang Gulinj-al Boordup Team