Cara Peek has been named the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner, in recognition of her work creating opportunities for First Nations people in remote and regional Australia.
Peak, a proud Yawuru/Bunuba woman, accepted the award on Wednesday, telling the audience about her passion for elevating, and advocating for, First Nations people.
“I’ve been reminded lately when what you do is fuelled by who you are, that is purpose. Who I am has been crafted by many strong, intelligent and compassionate women,” Peek, the Social innovator and founder of Saltwater Country, said in her acceptance speech.
“As the national AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the women who have helped make it happen.”
Peek, a Broome-based lawyer, founded Saltwater Country in 2014, as a not-for-profit celebrating the skills and history of Indigenous stockmen and women with its annual Rhythm & Ride Rodeo, Campdraft and Country Music Festival.
Saltwater Country has since evolved to include Saltwater Academy, which develops and oversees evidence-based programs delivered with cultural integrity, allowing students to train in the disciplines of horsemanship, equine therapy, agribusiness, marketing, and event management.
Peek explained more about her purpose in her acceptance speech on Wednesday, and how she uses her skills and network to create opportunities for others, especially Indigenous women and youth, in regional and remote Australia.
“My purpose is to elevate First peoples and advocate for them, I do so through creating platforms for success, to let their brilliance shine through,” she said.
“Saltwater Academy, and by extension everything that we do at Saltwater Country, endeavours to improve social, emotional, economic, and cultural wellbeing for our people, in particular with a focus on rural, remote and regional communities.
“This is the embodiment of my purpose – to use my skills, my experience, networks, and creativity to create access and opportunity for people, particularly Indigenous women and youth.”
John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, said Peek demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities.
“Cara’s work is a clear conduit to a future, built sustainably for rural and remote Indigenous people, by Indigenous people. She has continued to operate in the toughest of times, whilst having real impact, and has been central to driving hope and lasting change within the Kimberley. I am confident this bursary will go some way to supporting Saltwater Country in realising its full promise”.
Established over 20 years ago, the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award celebrates female leaders in rural and regional industries, businesses and communities.
Women’s Agenda profiled Cara earlier this year, to find out more about her work with Saltwater Country. You can read it here.