Elder Cherry Daniels was laid to rest today in a ceremony attended by many from the region.
Cherry was born and raised in Ngukurr. As a child, her elders would take her out bush with them to practice their traditional ways. This was back in the missionary days when people tried to stop community passing on culture. Even speaking traditional language was banned at the School back in her time.
This didn’t stop Cherry. For her, “our leaders were strong. They didn’t let white people stop us from having our ceremonies. It is our identity.”
She was one of the few Ngandi speakers. It was important to her to pass this knowledge on so that it wasn’t lost. That’s why she worked for many years with the language centre and school, helping her mob regain their knowledge and pride in language and culture.
Back under the old CDEP program, Cherry started the rangers which became the Yugul Mangi Rangers. She worked with that mob, teaching the kids our traditional ways. She’d go out bush and teach what she knew.
She was very strong with culture and knew how important it was to pass on knowledge. She helped write books and did a lot of good work for our community.
It will be important to her that we remember our ways and where we’re from. We need to know our language and culture, so we can protect country. She was also very strong on ‘both ways’ education so our mob can succeed in both worlds.
The Government knew how important this was – which is why they gave her an Order of Australia Medal. This was in recognition of her service to her ways and her people.
Cherry dedicated her life to the advancement of our community and she will be sorely missed.