Dharug Custodial Leadership: Uncovering Country in the City
When Dharug Ngurra (Country), as an interrelated web of presences, places and practices, involves interweaving diversities that currently form cosmopolitan Sydney, Australia, the question of Dharug custodial leadership becomes pertinent. What does custodial Indigenous leadership in the city look like and does it have a place in today’s educational institutions? This paper will engage those questions sourced from recent research centred on the traditional custodians of the majority of Sydney: the Dharug. Through yarning times, seven Dharug ‘sistas’ share their sense of belonging, caring and connection to the presences, places and practices of Country. Their custodial cultural leadership, undertaken in diverse educational contexts today, demonstrates leadership that enhances futures which belong, care and connect to Ngurra based in Dharug knowledges and practices embedded for millennia. While Dharug Ngurra may present as Sydney, it is argued that localised caring-for-Country practices strengthen localised belonging and enhance human and other-than-human wellbeing through custodial leadership. Recognising Goanna’s (Australia English word four our monitor lizard) place in this weaving brings out the more-than-human in us all.
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