Merryn Apma Atkinson is a Western Arrente woman, artist and founder of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative. Merryn has worked in Aboriginal Affairs for over 30 years and has spent her life advocating for and empowering her people. She served as a Director of the Long Walk Foundation for six years and co-founded the Long Walk Women’s luncheon in 2004, a key national annual event and proponent of reconciliation. Merryn Talks to Gman on Big Brekkie about her Life, Art and being a mentor and advocate for indigenous women.
Merryn has been awarded the Bicentennial Medal for her contribution to the Aboriginal Community (2001), the Western Suburbs Indigenous Gathering Place “Reconciliation” award (2005) and the “ Women in Culture” award at the “Koorie Women mean Business” inaugural Victorian Aboriginal Women’s awards (2006). Merryn Strives to keep working at the grass roots level to enable her people to have better opportunities in empowerment, health, housing, and to be heard and understood, and treated as equal. She is very committed to making a difference to both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people, and is passionate about assisting those less fortunate.
Merryn has taken away from her mother when she was a child and raised by non-Aboriginal family in Geelong, Victoria. As an adult, Merryn returned to her tribal lands in the Northern Territory to be reunited with many family members who travelled miles from communities to meet and welcome her. She was finally home! She had found what was missing in her life as a member of the Stolen Generation; her people her culture, her land. There began her education, and her spiritual and artistic journey, which is reflected in her artwork.