BNTAC Board Member named among Pilbara inspirational leaders

Congratulations to BNTAC Board Member May Byrne who has been named one of the 15 most inspirational Indigenous leaders in the Pilbara! The story appeared on the Pilbara News on 8 July and highlighted her book and artwork.

According to the Pilbara News story:

"Elder May Byrne...has inspired Indigenous and non Indigenous Pilbara residents by writing down a history of her people.

Her artwork has also been chosen to go on permanent display in the WA State Art Collection, and she wrote a book that taught the skin groups of the Banjima people.

The book uses pictures, graphics and small text blurbs to break down what can seem a hard to comprehend kinship system and also contains a history of Milyuranba Banjima ancestors, culture and dialect.

Ms Byrne said she had to write the book because there was no history of her people written down.

“I’d been planning to do the book for years when I was living in Roebourne,” she said.

“We had to leave something down, nothing was there that I could see, like a family tree.”

Ms Byrne said all her children and extended family were proud of the book.

“Leaving this behind, I hope I have inspired people, so they are more proud of their heritage,” she said.

Ms Byrne said one of her biggest achievements was helping to secure the traditional lands of the Milyuranba Banjima near Karijini.

Another highlight for Ms Byrne was finding her brother who had died in 1969.

Ms Byrne received the paperwork in 1993 and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.

In 2005 received approval for the exhumation her brother and place his remains on their traditional lands.

“My mum got her son back, she’s buried there and my uncle who was a stolen generation... they are back now,” she said."


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