Boorna-Wangkiny Episode 1: Turning Discomfort into Pride

07 June 2022

The Series

What happens when you pass the mic to First Nations voices and ask; how can we do better? We’re forced to face the inevitable discomfort of these challenging conversations and importantly, we’re pushed to grow into a more inclusive industry.

Last Monday, Think HQ did both when we launched the first episode of our new live webinar series ‘Boorna-Wangkiny’. 

Borrowing its name from the Noongar word for ‘Message Stick’, Boorna-Wangkiny is a nod to the wooden carvings used by First Nations peoples to collect and disseminate knowledge across vast distances. While the Message Stick was the original global mail system, this series reflects the messages that continue to be carried today through First Nations producers, editors, writers, and content creators.

It’s a step towards creating a communications industry, and a society, that embraces and amplifies First Nations experiences. In other words, it’s a digital message stick, carrying the knowledge you need, from the voices you need to hear from.  


The Episode

Coinciding with National Reconciliation week’s theme ‘Be Brave, Make Change’, our first episode asked the audience to explore the theme ‘Turning Discomfort into Pride’. It was a topic that resonated closely with our guest Marlee Silva’s own experiences. 

Growing up as one of the few indigenous locals in the Cronulla area, Marlee had to contend with the cultural identity struggles that surface when others make you feel like you don’t belong.   Rising above the limitations put on her, the Kamilaroi and Dunghutti woman went on to find strength in embracing her First Nations identity and manifesting that through her career. She’s since achieved notable acclaim as a published author, podcaster, writer, consultant, activist, and boundary rider for the NRL.

Marlee was joined by Think HQ’s own head of First Nations engagement and communications Professor Shane Hearn – our series host. What ensued was a deep dive into discomfort and change from both a personal and business lens.  While the conversation was a fitting kick-off to Reconciliation Week, it was just the beginning of a series that’s designed to cast a candid spotlight on our own cultural knowledge gaps. 


What's next?

We know growth doesn’t happen overnight, and it will take countless discussions like this to keep the ball moving in the right direction. With a second episode already in the works, the Boorna-Wangkiny webinar series is committed to bringing you insights from the First Nations voices shaking up our creative and communications industry. 

So, watch this space because this Message Stick has more knowledge to give.