Harmony Day is all about acknowledging and celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity and the contributions of indigenous and multicultural communities to Australian society.
This Harmony Day, we chatted to Michelle Troutman, a local photographer and proud Kamilaroi woman living on Bundjalung Country about her experiences as a Kamilaroi woman and what this day means to her.
Tell us a little about yourself and your work
My name is Michelle
, I am a strong and proud Indigenous woman from Kamilaroi Country. I love capturing Maternity, Newborn, Portrait & family photography for the Casino and Northern Rivers area of Bundjalung Nation.
My love of Photography began when I was 14 years old. Growing up in a big family, I started snapping photos of my nieces and nephews with my little film camera. In 2017 I decided to take my love of Photography further and went off to study a Diploma of Photography and Digital Imaging at South Western TAFE of Sydney. I am a natural light Photographer and love capturing the in-between moments, the bond between a parent and child, the tiny details of your new baby.
What does Harmony Day mean to you?
I love that we are able celebrate all cultural diversity. Being an Aboriginal woman I know how it feels to be a minority and I enjoy when people ask questions about my culture and our history, as it makes me feel proud. In the line of work that I am in, I meet people from diverse cultural backgrounds on a day to day basis and I always enjoy hearing about where they have come from and how they feel about Australia.
What have your experiences with diversity and inclusion been like living as a Kamilaroi woman on Bundjalung country and what would you like people to know about your culture?
I am a Kamilaroi woman from Mungindi which is situated on the NSW and QLD border. I have lived in Bundjalung country most of my life and have always been accepted across many of the communities in Bundjalung country. The Bundjalung nation is made up of many different diverse communities and I have always enjoyed sharing each other’s differences and hearing people’s stories. I have found that this area and its people are very inclusive and accepting of all walks of life.
How do you think communities can celebrate and become more inclusive of different cultures?
As an Aboriginal woman I thoroughly enjoy celebrating NAIDOC week each year and believe that we should have more events across our communities that celebrate all of our diversities.
Do you have any mentors who have helped you find your voice as a proud Kamilaroi woman?
I am always inspired by my ancestors and the struggles that they have faced over many years and they are a big tribute to where I draw my strength from. My mother is one of my mentors who has showed me how to be strong, resilient and passionate about all that I believe in. Throughout my life I have had mentors particularly the women in my life, that have helped me through good and bad times and I admire them all.