Getting to Know - Troy Pedersen
Strengthening Cultural Connections
A very warm welcome to Troy Pedersen - our new Indigenous Liaison and Action Lead here at the Chain of Ponds Collaboration!
Since starting the role in July, Troy has already made significant strides to help weave together both past and present cultural values within the landscape of the Moonee Ponds Creek catchment. This has included the planning of an immersive cultural engagement trail on the Moonee Ponds Creek.
"I'm loving the role!” Troy says, “I’m passionate about helping the whole of the community, exploring the environment, and indigenous issues. It’s great when you work with like-minded individuals every day who have the same passion for progress for what we’re doing”.
From Mparntwe to Melbourne
Born and raised in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) Troy is a carpenter by trade. He has been building all this life and appreciates the importance of community.
“I’m a Yindjibarndi man actually - my Mum is from up in the Plibura (North-Western Australia)” he says, “My father’s Danish and owned his own remote building company. When I was young we lived in Uluru, my Mum was connected to the Pitjantjara mob out there, and Dad pretty much built the Mutijulu Community. We moved from Western Australia, into Queensland, to South Australia and central Australia. It was pretty much all out in the bush growing up!”.
Troy moved to Melbourne from Mparntwe last November and he gained valuable experience working for Aboriginal Housing Victoria as a social landlord. “This was a really cool experience. I was out and about working within the Koori community here in Melbourne – I met some great people in that community”.
Troy is settling into life in Melbourne with his Partner Anneke , and five-month-old daughter Tyka who is changing every day and keeping him very busy!
One of the primary strategic priorities for the Chain of Ponds Collaboration is the recognition of Indigenous Cultural Values and the involvement of Traditional Owners in our work.
Troy’s focus since starting the role has been to do things in a culturally sensitive way. “The first thing you do when you’re working on someone else’s country is you tell them who you are, and why you’re there”.
One of the key responsibilities of the role is to engage the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation (Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung) and integrate their Cultural Values into our work.
“The first thing I made a point of doing was to reach out to the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung to be respectful, to let them know that I’m keen to start a working relationship, and to be a point of contact”. Troy also met with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Narrap Team (who work to undertake a range of natural resource management activities on Country) to discuss the range of Chain of Ponds Collaboration on-ground projects.
Troy has also been out and about meeting people from local and state government, community groups, not-for-profits, water authorities and research organisations.
“It’s been just awesome, I can’t speak more highly of everyone I’ve reached out to. Everyone’s got back to me quickly, everyone’s passionate and excited. It’s amazing when thinking of the environmentalism of it all - restoring one of the major creeks in Melbourne back to a natural state”.
Vision for the Future and Acknowledgement of the Past
When asked about his vision for the future of the role, Troy replies, “I want cultural connections to be accessible for both indigenous and non-indigenous people to enjoy while they walk the trails along the creek”.
“A big part of what I want to try to do is research any relevant history that the Traditional Owners have to creek systems and tributaries - and to bring this into all aspects of the Chain of Ponds. As we well know over here in Eastern Australia, with the disposition of aboriginal people, there’s not a lot of cultural law and knowledge that’s still lost unfortunately”.
“This research has really opened my eyes to see injustices for our first nations people that they’ve had to endure with colonisation over the years, and the challenges we’re still trying to get ahead with. It’s made me more patient, understanding, and empathetic, but also has lit a fire under me to do more to bridge a gap”.
“The best thing about where we’re at in Victoria is that it’s very progressive. There’s a real vibe of change. We can have all people, of all walks of life, coming together to enjoy nature”.
When looking into the future, Troy says “I would love for more local residents to become active in their community. Getting out and enjoying the walkways, participating in plant days and litter audits to get out of the house – turn the TVs off, and enjoy the beautiful nature that’s in their backyard”.
Watch this space to hear what’s next for continuing to strengthen cultural connections into the Chain of Ponds Collaboration!