Doctor Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, an Indigenous woman from Nauiyu and an artist, activist, writer and public speaker- was named NT Senior Australian of the Year.
Dr Baumann, the Territory’s first fully qualified Indigenous teacher in1975, was recognised for her lifelong dedication to remote education.
As an art consultant for the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Education, she visited schools through the Top End, advocating for the inclusion of visual art as a key part of childhood education.
“For so many years, we’ve always been getting teachers from down south to come up and work and live among us, to help us, and have their expertise,” she said.
“It meant that we knew the kids better … and the families. So why not become a teacher as well?
“We don’t have to go when our contracts are finished.”
In 2013, she established the Miriam Rose Foundation, to bridge the divide between Aboriginal culture and mainstream society – driving reconciliation at a grassroots level.
The Miriam Rose Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working to empower
Indigenous youth through education, art, culture and opportunity.
“It’s just telling kids as they are important as anyone around. They are the ones we are looking as future leaders in our community. If I can help to change somebody life around, I would do it”, she said about her work.
In recognition of her leadership, Miriam has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia medal and an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University.
Nauiyu is a remote Aboriginal community approximately 250km south of Darwin in the Northern Territory. The Malak Malak people who live both in Nauiyu and downstream at Wooliana are the traditional owners of the land. Their main language is Ngungi Kurunggurr.