"My advice for whoever fills the seat I'm leaving, is lean into the process, but support yourself and stay connected with your roots."
Candidate nominations opened this week for a by-election to represent the North East on the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria.
Assembly co-chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri elder Aunty Geraldine Atkinson encouraged eligible traditional owners of country to consider nominating and join the assembly on the journey towards treaty.
"We've made so much progress already, but we need someone to step up and help make sure mob in the North East are well represented."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Next month's by-election will replace Nartarsha Bamblett, the youngest member elected to the assembly, who left the role late last year.
"I'm stepping down from the assembly because I need to keep discovering and healing myself and I'm being drawn back to country," she said at the time.
"I want and need to build my own connection to my culture ... and give that opportunity to my young son."
But the former North East representative thanked the other members, saying she had learned so much as part of the assembly.
"For me, treaty is a recognition of the disconnection that our community experiences - that divide between us as Indigenous peoples and the government, its system that can continue to give us a raw deal, and the broader community," Ms Bamblett said.
"Treaty will allow a meeting place for us between these two worlds - for us to feel safe, to be seen and heard, a place to reclaim our voices. Most importantly it will create a place for everyone to connect, to build understanding and respect, and an opportunity to build a future as equals."
"Self-determination isn't just the destination, it's how we get there," she said. "This is about putting Aboriginal people in the driver's seat."
Go to firstpeoplesvic.org/ne-byelection for more information, with nominations to close at 4pm, February 7.
Voting will run from February 26 to March 27.
The successful candidate will serve until the assembly's next general election, due no later than December 2023.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.