Who is Sandy Greenwood?
I am proud gumbaynggirr, dunghutti, bundjalung woman raised by a single mum, a stolen generation survivor. I grew up on my ancestral homelands and have always drawn strength from my cultural heritage. Since graduating with an honours degree in theatre, I have worked predominantly as performer, producer and cultural educator striving to create change through activism, education and artistic expression. I recently set up my production company, Jinda Productions, which creates content from an indigenous female perspective. My One Woman Show Matriarch is about four generations of First Nations women in my family and I’ve recently produced a documentary film about the matriarchal role of gumbaynggirr women since the dreaming.
What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would be a healer drawing on ancient gumbaynggirr wisdom and spirit ways to heal trauma and suffering in others.
Who inspires you and why?
Strong women who have overcome incredible adversity inspire me. Matriarch is all about the strength and resilience of of my mother, grandmother and great grandmother and they continue to inspire me everyday.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would implement Indigenous led cultural healing programs across the country with its focus being the healing of intergenerational trauma through culture, storytelling and artistic expression. If I had the power I would demand a strong indigenous voice in parliament with its first priority to progress treaty negotiations. I would also encourage go our ancient Indigenous sustainability practices to combat climate change and help heal our planet.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
My ancestral homelands, Gumbaynggirr Country (Nambucca Heads) has everything: Majestic mountains, birthing caves, sub tropical rainforest, stunning rivers and our clan’s totem, the ocean or as we call it Gaagal – we are saltwater people and being back on country, especially after long stints in the city, always heals and nourishes me.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I have lived in Los Angeles for the past four years so straight to the canyons for a day of hiking because it’s the best way to ground yourself in LA, then to The Groundlings for a world class comedy improv show. If jet lag recovery is in order, then it’s off to Wii Spa for an amazing Korean spa experience with saunas made of crystals, clay and ice. Bliss!
What are you currently reading?
Love, Lucy – Lucille Ball’s incredible autobiography. The fact she was the first woman to run a production company in Hollywood is incredibly inspiring.
What are you currently listening to?
Indigenous hip hop – including my nephew, Tasman Keith and Baker Boy, Radiohead and Otis Redding.
Liking the person you are.
What does the future hold for you?
Continuing to tour Matriarch around Australia with shows at Yirramboi First Nations Festival coming up after Adelaide Fringe. I’m working on my book about growing up Aboriginal and I really want to become fluent in my gumbaynggirr language this year.
Sandy is currently performing her one woman show Matriarch at the Tandanya Aboriginal Cultural Institute as part of the 2019 Adelaide Fringe until 3 March. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefringe.com.au for details.
Image: Sandy Greenwood (supplied)