Dorothy LeeTong (Rivers)
Heritage: Jaru, Gija and Guniyandi
Skin Name: Nyawana
Dorothy was born in Derby and grew up on Moola Bulla Station near Halls Creek until it was sold in 1955. The 1950s and 60s was a different time to be growing up as an Aboriginal person in Australia. There was no way of knowing or comparing peoples living standards or their treatment in general. Dorothy recalls how her father made an application to become an Australian citizen and received his ‘black book’ allowing him additional privileges including being able to be out after dark – this was before Aboriginal people were recognised as Australian citizens in the 1967 referendum. Despite the injustices, Dorothy recalls her youth with fondness and harbours no bitterness or regrets because through it all she saw that God was with Australian Aboriginal people (Psalms 23). Dorothy has children and grandchildren and lived in Wyndham for over 40 years.
Skin Name: Nambijin
Rita was born in Wyndham during the 1950s, a descendant of the Miriwoong people, and grew up on Newry Station before leaving to complete her schooling at Beagle Bay Community, West Kimberley. Today Rita lives in Kununurra, and is very involved in the work of the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre in Culture and Language preservation. As a local woman who has previously held leadership roles as a board member of Mirima Council, Rita has been part of important decision making for her country. She has always had an interest in working with children, and feels that it is important for the young people and old people to work together to make changes for our future. She is a mother and a grandmother, and widely respected member of the community.