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Our Connection to Country

We have a lineage connection to the Alngith, Mbaiwum, Liningthi, and Wik Apalech nations that can be traced back as far as 9 generations. In 2001 the matriarch of our family – the late Jean George (Awumpan) signed the WCCCA agreement for both the north (Alngith) and the south (Liningithi or Wik-Way) of the Embley river. We are also registered native title holders for the Mbaiwum-Trotj (Sudley) and Wik-Apalech (Aurukun) nations.

Due to conflicts within the native title space, the Yepenyi-Awumpan descendants have chosen to focus on building capacity, facilitating stronger communities, supporting healing programs, and sharing culture where it is appropriate. Our goal is the utilization of cultural values and western systems and processes to support stronger communities and better outcomes.

We combine expertise in research, policy, and Indigenous methodologies with on-the-ground lived experience in remote
Aboriginal communities. Through our skills and knowledge base, we integrate subtle cultural and social nuances into our broader work including research, strategy development, reconciliation action plans, community engagement, employee support, and more. 

Fiona is a director and principal consultant to Arnya Pulway. She is a decendant of the Alngith, Wik & Wik-Way, and Mbaiwum nations of Western Cape York through her mother’s lineage and currently resides in her traditional homelands in Weipa. Fiona is a first-nations methodologist and researcher focusing on reconciliation, integrating cultural systems, and culturally based methods of healing and capacity building. She was the recipient of the prestigious Indigenous Research Training Program Stipend (RTPSI) for her PhD research topic – A Living Epistemology, which was completed in 2022 through the James Cook University in Cairns . She has a background in education and the creative industries and has developed a number of frameworks and programs that merge creative expression as a mode of voice for healing and progress. Her qualifications include;

  • Bachelor of Education, S1 Graduate (James Cook University);
  • Master in Education, Major in School Guidance and Counselling (Queensland University of Technology);
  • Graduate Certificate in Research Methodology (James Cook University) and;
  • PhD in Philosophy (James Cook University)

Fiona has over 50 years of lived experience of Western Cape culture and social systems and is one of the last remaining carriers of the Alngith and Liningithi language, culture, legends, and stories. She is the first Western Cape (Wik, Alngith, and Mbaiwum) person to graduate with an academic PhD and merge local culture with academia from a traditional owner perspective. She has over 30 years of literature experience and has authored five publications, including Whispers of this Wik Woman, which won the prestigious David Unaipon award in 2004.

 

In addition to her academic work, Fiona has choreographed performances for the Commonwealth Games and the Melbourne and Brisbane Fashion Week. She regularly contributes to panel discussions and has represented Australia in Canada and Europe with her creative and literature works. Notable tours include;

    • Honoring words 2003
      • Hosted in Vancouver
      • represented Australia in first-nations literature
    • Ars Electronica Festival 2005
      • Hosted in Austria
      • Artist in residence
      • Cultural exchange
    • Talking stick 2005
      • North America’s premier first-nations arts and culture festival
      • Hosted in Vancouver
      • Contributor
      • Cultural exchange
    • PhD Research in Canada 2017
      • Comparative analyses
      • Honorary stipend
      • Cultural exchange
 

Fiona specialises in first-nations methodologies, academic research and framework development and integration. She also offers lectures and course development, education and training, workshop facilitation, public speaking and panels, and cultural and/or creative immersion programs. Fiona is supported by her daughter, Sheridan Doyle who is a co-owner, director, and manager to the business. Sheridan is an Alngith, Wik & Wik-Way & Mbaiwum (western Cape York) descendant on her mother’s side and descends from the Iman (central QLD) and Yuggera (Brisbane) nations on her father’s side. She specialises in management, policy development, data collection and analysis, and strategy development and implementation. Sheridan has a partial business degree (majoring in economics), a diploma in family intake and support work and a diploma in tertiary education majoring in business management. She has over a decade of experience ranging from projects to policy development within a remote Aboriginal context and has previously advised on project expansion for Rio Tinto and social policy development for the Cape York Institute. Sheridan also offers WordPress web & app development, data conceptualization and presentation, development of tailored internal and external tools, and practical perspectives on implementation of high level frameworks, concepts, and policies, and systems. Arnya Pulway offers a unique and highly specialised combination of skills and knowledge to contribute towards better outcomes for first-nations peoples, the businesses and organisations that support them, and the broader community.