The CASSE team are gutted that Mr Kunmanara Hoosan passed away suddenly a day ago.
Mr Kunmanara Hoosan was our much-loved Board Patron and prior employee as a Cultural Consultant and Co-ordinator for our cultural healing camps for several years. He was passionate about helping the youth and working alongside them.
We know all of central Australia is in mourning, and our hearts go out to his family, communities, and the Central Land Council, which he chaired, and NPY. His passing is a loss of great magnitude. Nik is bringing food to the families, and we will be there next week. We had already booked flights to Alice and had plans to meet with him.
Tragically he passed before he could realise his dream of working with CASSE to build a permanent cultural campsite on his homeland outstation at Beer Bore and pilot month-long cultural camps.
Mr Kunmanara Hoosan spoke last week about how much he was looking forward to sitting down on country with the youth, giving knowledge of tool-making and sacred stories. We used his novella Tjanimaku, which he co-authored with other elders, about a wayward youth and his grandfather on many occasions with our program participants. They loved it.
We will miss Mr Kunmanara Hoosan’s cracking sense of humour, pulling one into line, strong advocacy, and strong cultural and creative mind.
Mr Kunmanara Hoosan had a powerful and influential voice. For example, during one of our meetings, he asked a senior manager from Dondale why there were no Aboriginal programs in the Youth Detention Centre (YDC). A few weeks later, we were delivering the cultural camp program in YDC, and the youth came alive with the presence of Kunmanara, speaking language and telling stories about the tools.
Mr Kunmanara Hoosan asked me on our first visit to the YDC what I thought about it, and I said it was OK as I was expecting it to be a Dondale. He asked me, “Where are the Aboriginal employees?”, he noted that there was “not a tree in sight” and there was “no family presence”. A day later, I spoke to him and thanked him and apologised for my rose-coloured glasses. Only last week, when there was a discussion about youth being placed in residential care for assessment, he noted the omission of working with parents and family to ensure good containment. He was desperate to find Aboriginal solutions for the youth in his capacity as Chair and talked long and hard about it. And we were going to talk more in Alice next week. He was a great mentor, and he wanted to be mentored.
Mr Kunmanara Hoosan will be sorely missed. We used to joke about a leather hat he really wanted that Nik and I had ordered for him, which never arrived from Amazon, and we reordered, and he would say, “It will be there- I’ll get it for Christmas!”
The Land laments. He died too young, albeit a senior cultural leader, and in his prime.
CASSE will carry on and help realise his dreams for the youth and honour the spirit of a great grandfather.
Now it is our turn – we salute you, Kunmanara, and take our hats off to you.
Pamela Nathan- 24th November 2022
Board: Chris Croker-Chair, Raymond Walters, Martin Juggadai, Pamela Nathan. Current team members: Nik Rosalski, Gurli Hughes, Mathew Lynch, Anna Kingston