People and Places
29/10/2021
Celebrating the strength of Culture and Country
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Sean Moyle

It wasn’t until he was 13 that Pitjantjatjara man Sean Moyle learnt of his Indigenous lineage. “With the Stolen Generations, it was kept quiet in my family,” Sean explains. “My great-grandmother was taken and sent to the missions in South Australia.”

Sean was born in Rosebud. His family moved to the Gariwerd/Grampians area when he was a baby and he grew up there. At 19, Sean returned to Boon Wurrung/Bunurong land on the Mornington Peninsula and connected with Living Culture’s founder and CEO Lionel Lauch. This was his opportunity to go deeper with his Culture. “Growing up, I thought my Culture was completely lost until I met Uncle Lionel. Meeting him has given me so much hope that Culture is not going to be forgotten.”

Living Culture’s mission is to educate people about the importance of keeping Aboriginal Culture alive. Now 26, Sean is proud to be part of the Living Culture team working as a youth leader and cultural guide. “We go into schools; we have permission from Bunurong Land Council to speak about Culture. We teach everything from spear throwing to showing artefacts, all the different tools that we make, and fire lighting. We do bush walks teaching people how to survive in the bush off all the amazing plants we have in Australia. I have inspiration to share that knowledge because we have all these amazing native plants in our backyards or down the beach that we could be using that are self-sustainable.”

Sean also works as a mentor to young Indigenous men as part of the Connected Mob program funded by Our Songlines, a local organisation committed to making Culture accessible to everyone through online education, workshops and mentoring. Living Culture work alongside Our Songlines in the local Aboriginal Business Network that shares resources and collaborates on projects that strengthen shared goals.

Of his mentoring work, Sean says: “As a young kid I had a lot of trauma, and anxiety when I was younger. Even now I struggle in my own ways, so it’s easy for me to connect with people who have been through those things too and try and show them there’s a better way in life, to not be so angry and try and teach people to feel happy. A lot of young fellas that I’ve talked to have said Culture has saved them.”

Sean’s work has been recognised this year with a National NAIDOC Community member award. The annual National NAIDOC Awards recognise the outstanding contributions that Indigenous Australians make to improve the lives of Indigenous people in their communities and beyond, to promote Indigenous issues in the wider community, or the excellence they’ve shown in their chosen field.

“I had no idea I’d been nominated; it was fantastic. They had the awards on Zoom and asked me to attend. I had no expectations. The award is for the work I’ve been doing in community, connecting with a lot of schools and kindergartens, connecting with and teaching kids about Culture and what they have around them, how to respect and care for things. For a long time in Australia, people have been reckless with the bush and environment and our animals; for us, nature is everything. Once we lose that we lose us too. I want to share our Culture because everyone here in Australia, we’re all one, we’re all connected.”

To find out more about Living Culture or Our Songlines, visit the websites www.livingculture.org.au and www.oursonglines.com

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