I am writing to you to convey our sympathy on the passing of Aunty Kā. In Aboriginal communities and clans the passing of an Elder has significant impact upon all community members and is a point of sorrow, reflection and solidarity.
A truth that is fundamental when an Elder passes is that the community loses the direct connection to traditional knowledge passed down and through their presence, a connection to family who are now in the dreaming.
The loss of a family member leaves an indelible mark upon all who knew, loved and respected those who have passed. In Aboriginal communities Sorry Business is a fundamental part of cultural obligations and as we grieve for our own community members and Elders who have passed, Sorry Business is not limited to our own peoples and their communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a deep seated-connection to our brother and sister communities within Australia and in other first nations communities across the globe; and through this interconnectedness we share the grief and pain of their loss.
Through the solidarity of our respective goals for all first nations peoples the National Tertiary Education Union and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Committee is united in grief with our Māori brothers and sisters in Aotearoa and the Tertiary Education Union in learning of the passing of Aunty Kā.
All those who had the opportunity to spend time with Aunty were in awe of her as both a cultural and community leader and union stalwart. Aunty will be deeply missed by all and we extend solidarity, love and support to all those suffering the immense loss of her passing.
While distance may separate us, we are here for you in solidarity now and into the future.
With deepest sympathy,
Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer
Acting Chair, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Committee