'They are responsible': Sister Anne hands Tiwi Islanders keys to museum

Posted March 18, 2017 13:54:37

It began as a dream to preserve the rich culture of the Tiwi Islands and has now become a symbol of self-determination.

Senior Australian of the Year, Sister Anne Gardiner, yesterday handed over the keys of the Patakijiyali Museum to Aboriginal people to run.

"It was a bit emotional because I have put my heart and soul into that museum, so now the keys are theirs," Sister Gardiner said.

The museum was created in the early 2000s and focuses on preserving the culture and language of the Tiwi Islands people, as well as the area's sporting heritage.

Two local Tiwi women will now manage the facility.

'Time to take responsibility for Patakijiyali museum'

Sister Anne invoked the words of Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson during a handover ceremony.

"Noel Pearson once said that 'we Aboriginal people are very good at stating our rights, and it is time now to take on some responsibilities'," she said.

She said the two women who will take control were very capable of taking on the difficult job.

"They are responsible for opening the door. They are responsible for locking the door.

"They are responsible when people are upset if their name is not there," she said.

'We have learnt everything from Sister Anne'

Magdalena Kelantumama is one of the women who will run the museum and said she was proud her new role.

"It was a lovely day for her to hand it over, so we are going to be responsible for every part of this museum here," Ms Kelantumama said.

"We have learnt everything from Sister Anne. We love her very much."

Sister Anne first moved to Bathurst Island, off the coast of the Northern Territory, in 1953 as a nun to work at a mission.

She was named Senior Australian of the Year at a ceremony on January 26 this year and presented with an award by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Topics:indigenous-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander, indigenous-culture, library-museum-and-gallery, nguiu-0822

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