My name is Rebecca Pupangamirri, and I am a Mantiyupwi Landowner. My skin group is Takaringa, the Mullet fish.
I started working at the school at 19 years of age as an assistant teacher. I did this for 6 and a half years. Then I moved to the childcare centre and worked there for 16 years as a head cook. First the childcare centre was funded by Tiwi Islands Council. Then it was passed to local government, then Tiwi Islands Shire council, then Tiwi Island Regional Council. We used to get up in the morning and make breakfast, then cook lunch for kids at the childcare and the after school care. I would also help care for the kids with the other staff. My younger sister Annunciata was the coordinator.
While I was there, I also used to work on a program that was helping kids who needed some extra support with confidence and to feel strong. I also worked with the parents, and grandparents, supporting and encouraging them. I helped translate Tiwi language to these families, and help them understand about the program. Explaining that it was not focussing on ‘bad’ kids, but just supporting and helping young people grow strong. All these young people I worked with are now all grown up. They have children of their own.
I worked with the Tiwi Health Board between 2004-2005 (when I was also still working at the childcare). I worked with Professor Gary Robinson, on the team developing the school-based early intervention and prevention program for Indigenous children and parents in Wurrumiyanga. The program was called ‘Ngaripirliga’ajirri’ and was carried out in partnership with the Tiwi Health Board and the Let’s Start Parent-Child Program.
I have two children, both boys. I raised them as a single Mum, and they are grown up now. My eldest son is a CDP coordinator. My other son has had some difficulties with learning and understanding in English, but Tiwi he is confident with understanding. I have supported him through his life.
Now I am working with Mantiyupwi Family Trust, and collaborating with CDU, as a researcher. I have been sharing the story of our Gambling research with other Tiwi people to make them feel comfortable, and help them not to be confused what the research is about. I’ve been translating in Tiwi about the project, and how we can all be working together to help our mob stay strong, talking about gambling, but also other things.
- Ngaripirliga’ajirri’: School-based early intervention and prevention program for Indigenous children and parents, with Menzies School of Health (2004 – 2005)
- Mantiyupwi Family Trust Gambling Amerlioration Project, with CDU (2023)
If you are interested in working with me, please contact Mantiyupwi Family Trust, through Tiwi Resources.
Images: Research on the Mantiyupwi Gambling Project, March 2023