One Churchill Fellow's Reconciliation celebration

31 May 2019

One Churchill Fellow's Reconciliation celebration featured image
Left to Right: Matt Blyth, Kathleen Mamarika, Andrew Murrungun, Constantine Mamarika, Alfred Mamarika

In honour of National Reconciliation week, Churchill Fellow and filmmaker Matt Blyth, with fellow filmmaker and Warnamamalya woman Kathleen Mamarika, share some of their reconciliation journey, which as they say has been one very much of celebration.

Matt and his young family spent two years living on Groote Eylandt recording ethnographic stories and songlines for the Anindilyakwa Land Council. They left to return to their family on the mainland in 2015.

In late 2017, Matt was invited back to work with his good friend Kathleen to produce a series of stories for GEBIE aboriginal corporation. Matt and Kathleen picked up where they left off working at Anindilyakwa Media, and in two weeks they produced seven stories all in Anindilyakwa language.

This clip, Yirriwerrkilyelying majungwunama yarningangkawura ngawa yarna  (We have much to be proud of), was produced on the last day of their schedule with a collection of friends from Umbakumba and was one of their most precious creations. As Kathleen says:

“This clip is special. It is very much about Warnamamalya having control (autonomy), strong culture, and making our own decisions about our destiny. At the same time, the clips production was shared (reconciliatory) in nature: Warnamamalya and Wurramangkadirra or Indigenous and non-indigenous working together to record and share the Indigenous message.”

With a friendship that’s approaching ten years, Kathleen and Matt agree that reconciliation can be complicated, but it can also be simple: “To come to a place of understanding, there first needs to be trust, then friendship, give and take, strength, love, laughter and at times tears – just like a family.”

Footnote: After leaving Groote Eylandt Matt rebooted his production Millstream Productions.  Kathleen is a company director, as well an ethnographic documentary director in her own right. They’re still great friends.

Clockwise from top left: 1) Edith & Kathleen Mamarika, 2) Hands of the production team 3) Kathleen Mamarika, Evelyn Blyth & Elijah Blyth, 4) Jill Simmons, Louise Amagula & Kathleen Mamarika
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