On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I wish to express my sincere condolences to Aunty Agnes’ family and her Ngunnawal People.
Aunty Agnes Shea was a highly respected Senior Elder and a leader of the movement for justice and reconciliation. Her loss will be felt deeply within the Canberra community, and more broadly across Australia.
Aunty Agnes has been a great supporter of the work of Reconciliation Australia and holds a special place in our story. She always spoke so strongly about the importance of language revitalisation and education of younger generations, something that we will continue to uphold and share through our work.
We remain eternally grateful for her support and permission as a founding member of the United Ngunnawal Elder’s Council, to use a Ngunnawal word as the title of our national education program. In an act of great generosity, she and the Council gave Reconciliation Australia permission to use the word narragunnawali, meaning alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace, in her Ngunnawal language.
Her warmth, generosity of spirit and message of kindness will be remembered by the many people who were privileged to have been Welcomed to Country by her over the years.
Although she has now passed her legacy of passionate advocacy for Ngunnawal people, culture and language will live on. Reconciliation Australia will continue to support the United Ngunnawal Elders Council calls for truth telling and the use of Ngunnawal names on local ACT landmarks.
Our thoughts are with her family, the Ngunnawal People, and her friends in the wider ACT community at this difficult time.
Karen Mundine, CEO Reconciliation Australia