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Rosie Sahanna | Self-confidence | What my father told me 

When a family is lost the cost is high, when a family is close-knit it helps build self-confidence. Discover how from this Centenary Medal winner.

I turned 49 in 2009 and am the Coordinator of the Link-Up Services for the Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation. The service assists Aboriginal people affected by past government policies to identify and locate their family members. This involves research and investigation; establishing relationships with government, non-government, church and other organisations with relevant records relating to clients; and establishing and maintaining good relationships with fellow service providers within the region, state and nationally. I live in Broome, in northern Western Australia.

I am a mother of four children, two girls and two boys, and a very proud grandmother of two beautiful girls. My daughters are Kaupa, (on my left) and Tilly, (on my right, in the orange dress). My whole world revolves around my family and I thank God every day for them.

I have always been a very independent person and have worked my whole life. I worked for thirteen years with the Department for Community Development, (currently known as Department of Child Protection), as an Aboriginal District Officer. Then for four years I was an Aboriginal Housing Board Member, and for three years I was the Chairperson of the ATSIC Kullarri Regional Council. I have been a committee member of Sect 13 National Family Violence and Child Abuse Committee, the Executive Officer with the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council (KAMSC), and the CEO of the Kullarri Indigenous Women Aboriginal Corporation, (KIWAC). I was also the Chairperson of the Broome NAIDOC Committee from 1987 to 2004; and the Chairperson of the Broome Regional Action Group. This was responsible for organising events for National Reconciliation Week and Harmony Day in Broome.

Currently, as well as being the Coordinator of the Link-Up Services, I am the Secretary for the WA Aboriginal Legal Services in the West Kimberley Region and Executive Board Member of the Aboriginal Legal Services of Western Australia. I sit on the board of St. Mary’s College in Broome and the Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation in Broome, and I am a member of the Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Services.

I was one of 100 Indigenous people selected to attend the National Indigenous Representative Body (NIRB) workshop in Adelaide in March 2009. Discussions centered upon on how the NIRB should be set up and its functions. Discussions are continuing and hopefully we will have an interim Board in place by the end of the year.

I was the recipient of a “Centenary Medal” for 'Service to Australian Society' and my work with the Kullarri Regional Council in 2001. The Centenary Medal acknowledges those who 'contributed to the success of Australia’s first hundred years as a federal nation' … and 'who laid solid foundations for the nation’s future'. I have also been presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Minister of Housing, Francis Logan, in 2006.

What has helped me build my confidence: I come from a very close-knit family and was raised by a father who taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to always have an opinion, and be strong. His philosophy was ‘look, listen and learn’ and that inspired me in becoming the person I am today.

How I stay confident: In saying the above, my upbringing, and becoming a mother and a grandmother gives me confidence every day of my life to achieve the goals that I set every day for myself.

My Granddaughters motivate and bring out the best in me. They are my reason to want more in life. My children encourage me to do what’s best for me for ‘as long as I’m happy, they are too’.

Stolen Generation website.

If you'd also like to have self-confidence visit our blogs: "Look, walk and talk confidently",  and "Be assertive, gain confidence".

Reader Comments (6)

Dear Rosie,
You, Kaupa and Tilly are so beautiful and you have done so much. You are a truly wonderful and wise woman, thank you for being featured. Blessings to you and your family, let yourself keep shining, Rachel.
Thu 23 Jul, 09 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRachel Green
Great story Rosie, keep up the good work, we all need strong role models in our community.
Wed 14 Oct, 09 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterTania Bin Bakar
Fantastic Rose,
You are an inspirational person that is highly motivated, always looking for new challenges, I believe you have confirned that is what every woman strive for.
Our ancestral resemblences shines brightly in both you and your beautiful daughters.
Keep up the great work.
Thu 15 Oct, 09 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterPauline McKenzie

You are a great role model for our Indigenous women and we need more like you. You are beautiful in every sense of the word.

Your children are great role models for our younger generation.

You have done so much my little family and we would be lost without you.

Thank you for everything.

Thu 15 Oct, 09 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBella Edgar
Too deadly Rosie, hope your story inspires others to have confidence and to tell their stories. And of course we know how deadly your beautiful daughters are. You are a great role model for them and the little girls (Linay and Maraya)
Thu 15 Oct, 09 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterGay Messer
Hey Rosie, well done, good on you. Keep up the good work, you are one of the very few strong, uncorrupt Indigenous leaders left. You have such wonderful loving family and that's all you need sister congradulations!
Thu 15 Oct, 09 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterLexie Trancollino

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