Ngarrindjeri elder Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner wins NAIDOC Week award

The dancer and community leader has been recognised with a 2021 Premier's NAIDOC Award.

Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna elder Major “Moogy” Sumner has been named this year’s winner of the South Australian Premier’s NAIDOC Award.

The widely respected dancer, cultural ambassador and community leader received the honour at a function in Adelaide on Monday.

Premier Steven Marshall congratulated Mr Sumner for his contributions to the health, social welfare, youth and culture of the state’s Indigenous people.

As well as leading the Tal-Kin-Jeri dancers and the travelling river country spirit ceremony Ringbalin, Mr Sumner has been heavily involved in the return of Aboriginal remains held overseas; advocated for Ngarrindjeri yarluwar-ruwe, sea-country; conducted smoking ceremonies at important occasions; and acted as a role model for the wider community.

His previous honours already included an Order of Australia Medal in 2014.

“Moogy is a world-renowned cultural ambassador, widely regarded for his contributions to Aboriginal culture and to positive and future-focused outcomes for Aboriginal people, land and waterways,” he said.

“Moogy’s life work and passion is the embodiment of this year’s NAIDOC theme of ‘heal country, heal our nation’.

“I extend my sincerest congratulations to Moogy and to all the other finalists ... (whose) contributions benefit not just Aboriginal people and communities but all South Australians.”

The other finalists for the award were Ngarrindjeri Kaurna veterans’ advocate Frank Lampard, Kaurna activist Georgina Williams and Narrunga Kaurna elder Jeffrey Newchurch.

The Ngarrindjeri nation’s NAIDOC Week awards were due to be handed out at the Murray Bridge council chambers on Monday morning, but the annual event – including a bridge walk – had to be postponed due to SA’s uncertain COVID-19 situation.

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