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Connecting communities with government
In communities around the Northern Territory, Indigenous Engagement Officers, or IEOs for short, are working to create stronger futures for their people.
Ramingining’s IEO Norman Daymirringu sees himself as the key link between Balanda and his Yolngu people, ensuring the community knows about important Australian Government programs and how they can access them.
“To me, an IEO’s job is to share the story about how the Government is looking to help the community and what it means to each member of the community.
“Being an IEO is a 24 hour job. People will stop me in the store on the weekend to ask me about something, and the other night after work I visited a young couple at their home to talk about the new Remote Jobs and Community Program,” Norman says.
Born and raised in Ramingining, Norman likes the fact that he can combine his IEO work with the important cultural responsibilities he has in Ramingining and his role as a sergeant in the Army Reserve.
One of his cultural responsibilities, as the community’s official didgeridoo player, won him a role in a recent movie filmed in the community.
“How Yolngu become a young elder is that you start by singing and learning the important cultural songs and dances, and then you learn every boundary of every tribe and their names. It takes years but at the end you become a respected person in the community.
“My cultural role in Ramingining helps the work I do as an IEO because community members respect me and will listen to me. The Elders say to me ‘we need you to be manymuk (respected) so the young people in community listen to you’,” he says.
Norman encourages young Yolngu to follow both Yolngu and Balanda pathways, learning about their culture while also staying in school so they can get a good job and look after their family.
“That means they will have a strong future, which means Ramingining will have a strong future.”