Council would like to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by Sissy Pettit and Racquel Kerr during their terms on Council. Whilst both these members have made the difficult decision to resign from Council, it is done to allow them to take up positions within Council’s Ancestral Remains Unit.
Looking after our Ancestors is enacting my cultural responsibilities. All my life, the teachings from my family and Culture have been that our Ancestors are our cultural responsibility. They’ve been off Country for too long and if I can play a small role in that then I’ve done my cultural responsibly.
Since 2016, Sissy has contributed to all Council’s work as both a Council member and Deputy Chairperson. She has continued her lifelong work to return Ancestors to Country, supported Council in work with Traditional Owners not yet formally recognised
For over 20 years, Sissy has led and supported her community to achieve its aspirations and values creating real and respectful partnerships as part of this. Her role on Council has continued this vital work as she has taken up key committee positions regarding Returning our Ancestors Council’s documentary film project, moving Council towards an autonomous structure through the Budget and Risk Committee, development of the inaugural State of Victoria’s Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Report 2016-2021, Taking Control of Our Heritage Conference and Our Languages Matter Place Naming Workshops.
Sissy has accepted the position of Ancestral Remains Unit Manager, within the Office of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council.
Being a Council member has been a two-way learning experience for me. I was able to contribute my experience and knowledge, helping to build Council to the place where they are now. At the same time, I was mentored by Elders and experts within the field.
In 2018, Racquel joined Council and brought a valuable youth perspective. She has contributed significantly to Council’s work in practical enactment of responsibilities for Country and the legislative and policy elements of its work. Particularly though membership of Council committees relating to legislative reform, policy and practical applications of the Act through statutory functions and responsibilities. A strong cultural engagement has also seen Racquel contribute to the development of Council’s Taking Control of our Heritage Indigenous Cultural Heritage Conference 2021.
Racquel has accepted the position of Senior Project Officer in the Ancestral Remains Unit, within the Office of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council.
Sissy and Racquel are on a new journey now, contributing their skills, passion and caring to the ARU. Taking up the responsibility to work on the return of our Old People to Country is something that’s right for both these cultural warriors and we commend them on undertaking this work.
We thank both Sissy and Racquel for their commitment, wish them well and look forward to continuing to work with them on getting our Old People home.
Reviewed 15 March 2021