My name is Sono Leone, I am a proud descendant of the Garawa (Gulf of Carpenteria) and Butchulla (Fraser Island / Hervey Bay) Nations. Also a proud Tongan Tahini (girl) on my Father’s side. I also have a South Sea Island heritage on my great grandfathers line.
As a young girl I always had a strong connection to the sea. I grew up by the beach and would often sit on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. As I looked out I always had a strong sense of connection to mother earth and my Father the Creator. I would sit and talk to Him for hours. I always felt close to the creator even back then as an 11year old girl especially when I sat on the beach. As an adult I found out one of my totems is the Salt Water (Ocean). Of course this came as no surprise to me.
My grandfather and grandmother both grew up under the Aborigines Protection Act in QLD which meant they were a part of the stolen generation and grew up on Aboriginal reserves AKA missions. This meant my mother was born on a mission and was also under the Act growing up, and was not considered a citizen of her own country until the age of 15years. To our people, this meant that we were subject to a lot of social injustices over the years and still are.
Growing up I have witnessed the devastating impacts of colonisation in a modern contemporary society. One of those being the cycle of Family and Domestic Violence, in my family and within many communities. By the amazing grace of God, and through education I was able to overcome the cycle of Domestic Violence in my own life, and my children’s lives. Today I am the founder and Director of Strong Women Talking – Marigurim Mubi Yangu. A ministry that God has passionately placed in my heart which delivers Culturally Sensitive Domestic Violence Prevention workshops to First Nations women. Strong Women Talking has a vision to break the cycle of Violence once and for all. It is important our women can talk about these issues and educate ourselves and our younger generations. Strong Women Talking does this through workshops and yarning circles.
I am really excited to attend Grasstree this year to connect and build strength with other First Nations in faith from all across the nation. I know that by listening and connecting I am going to learn heaps and be really encouraged and built up. I cant wait!!
Photographer JF Studios BNE.