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Land Rights News Central Australia: Land Rights News (October 2011)

Published: November, 2011

Awards for hard working winners

The presentation took place at the Charles Darwin University campus in Alice Springs on 6 June.

Madeleine Dixon’s success reflects her outstanding work as a senior ranger  with the Yuendumu Ranger Group.

She first joined the program in 2007, and she’s currently the only female senior ranger in the Central Land Council’s Ranger Program.

“I started this work to get out on country,” the 38-year-old says, “to learn about it from old people, learn about animals and plants that I didn’t see before.

“And to learn two ways – traditional information about them and scientific information too.” “I love to learn new things – it makes me feel strong as a Warlpiri woman, and self reliant, because it draws on so many different skills and challenges me every day.”

She shared the award with an old friend of hers, Ti-Tree teacher April Campbell.

The two have known each other since studying teaching together at Batchelor, but she had no idea her friend would be there too.

“My family were still on the road on the way to the ceremony when I got the award,” says Madeleine.

“I had colleagues there supporting me, so I was not alone, but I was surprised and happy when April stood there with me and I realised we were both were getting the award.”

For her part, April says she was expecting to see Madelaine on the stage. “I knew that Madeleine was going to get the award too, and I was happy for her,” she says.

April, 45, has worked at the Ti-tree school for 20 years, has raised two young men, one who works as a ranger and another in aged care.

Right now she’s bringing up two girls – an eight-year-old and a three-year-old, while finishing a Diploma of Teaching.

April plans to use the money from the scholarship to buy a computer so she can keep working on it during the school holidays.

The computer will also help her stay in contact with the Institute for Aboriginal Development in Alice Springs, so she can help with translations they are doing, and stay in touch with Arts NT to assist them with organising elders for festivals and other events.

Both women admit to feeling excited and nervous before accepting their scholarships - but also very proud of what they had achieved.

As Madeleine says, “It was a very good recognition of all the hard work I have done.”