Translating Traditional Indigenous Native Botanical Knowledge Into Modern Skincare
We want to grow our business from a small seed to a giant tree, so it can stay strong, just like our culture.- Gayangwa Lalara OAM
Our traditional knowledge comes from our connection to our land, native botanicals, our ancestors, and our stories. We have been using our bush knowledge and medicines to heal ourselves for generations. We want to lift our indigenous people and others up so that we can be stronger and healthier together..
The idea of starting a business using our cultural knowledge grew from the need to help our own people, especially our elderly who could no longer go on country. There also wasn’t much opportunity for us to come together to work in a way that brought our knowledge and culture together.
We struggle with domestic violence, chronic disease, youth suicide, substance abuse, illiteracy, and other social problems. Our life expectancy is about forty-eight years old and we attend family funerals on average every two to three weeks. Many of our children and grandchildren are in prison, and this causes us heartache and worry.
We run our business from a few shipping containers in Angurugu which is on our remote island in the Northern Territory. It is a humble set up, but we feel safe here. We hand harvest botanicals from our country, take them back to The Shed and hand make and package everything ourselves. Coming to work gives us a break from our challenges.
We are governed by the strong indigenous women on our Board. We struggled with funding in the beginning, but our Board never gave up and others started to believe in us as much as we believed in ourselves.
We are First Nation people having a go at walking in two worlds to share our traditional knowledge and heal people, not just physically but through relationships. We are One People with One Voice who appreciate your support knowing that we as indigenous people and as an indigenous business, matter.
Australian Law and processes governing bush medicines makes it very hard and expensive to register products under the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA). As we are not registered under the TGA we cannot legally make medicinal claims about our indigenous knowledge and products. No Australian indigenous bush medicine business has ever successfully registered their products under the Therapeutic Goods Act. Our business and livelihoods matter and we want to see this change.