Ella Bancroft is a powerful voice and activist for Reconciliation and the very embodiment of what we call Radiant Conscious Beauty. To read more about Ella and the not-for-profit indigenous organisation she founded - The Returning - here is an interview we did with her last year.
Ella Bancroft is a fierce and graceful natural born leader. Her deep remembrance and advocacy of indigenous lore, her unwavering love of the land and traditional ways of both honouring and preserving our natural home is a force of nature within itself.
Her fire and passion is a sign of just how powerfully the women who are now stepping up into these roles can change the way we view everything from society itself through environmental issues and into cultural preservation and sovereignty.
Ella was a natural ally in our vision for Synthesis Organics and we recently caught up with her to share some of her story, especially the recent events of the Northern Rivers floods and how we can learn from Indigenous leaders like Ella, to create a more sustainable and honouring future, for ourselves and most importantly, for our beloved Earth.
Lately it has felt like there has been one hit after the next. The world is closing in and everything can feel so tight and close, and then we remember to simply breathe.
Here in my hometown, in our region, we have been hit with floods. Along with the floods has been a flooding of love, generosity and community care. We as a community have provided all the basic needs for our community during this disaster, all volunteer run, and with our hearts in the right place, we are helping our community recover. It has brought great joy to all of us to embody the idea that "many hands make light work”.
Two months now from flood hit we are also filled with a sense of frustration at the lack of care that our so called "government" has provided us with. These systems and government bodies are disconnected and highlight how easy it is for people to fall through the cracks of this system. Through this experience, it has reinforced that which I have always been told by my mother, grassroots is where the change is really made.
Most of my work is build around investing in my community rather than myself, my focus for the last few years has been on community care, not self care. A reminder that a more local future, one where we rely on each other, one where we are interdependent, one where we return to our true connection to everything could be the saviour to most of the worlds issues.
Have you ever wondered why globalisation has had a huge impact on resource extraction, on the continuation of colonisation, on the increase in pollution and mental and physical health? Believe we must rebuild and restore relationships with self, community and land in order to heal the future world and those who are yet to live in it. In times like this we are reminded of the power of people and our true nature which is to love and share. I am walking in the steps of my ancestors, we all are. Now more than ever we have to reclaim our story, reclaim our ancestors and reconnect to our planet and the people who live on it.
This natural disaster is one of many that I will be faced in my lifetime. I am vowing to become more skilled, more involved and more active with my community than ever before and I ask you, will you join me on this journey of deep work and reconnection? A lot of my work is embedded in bringing people home to country, inspiring people to see how investing in community can be a great investment in self, and showing people the true understanding of where they come from, a reclaiming of story and therefore a reclaiming of empowerment.
I am the director and founder of an organisation called The Returning Indigenous Corporation, we invite women, men and children to return back to the land, to learn about being aligned with the earth and living a more aligned life. To reclaim wellness and health through a cultural lens.
The Returning runs weekend long women's retreats, Cultural camps for both men and women and also lore programs for Indigenous high school students to learn cultural protocols. My organisation is embedded in the gifting economy and so we offer over full scholarships for 50% of our participants for each program.
My work is embedded in community care, unless we care for our community, we cannot care for ourselves, the basic principles of all spirituality teachings is to remind us that we are all connected and therefore if one person in your community is suffering, your whole community is suffering. I believe in more support for our single mothers, more leadership roles for our First Nations people and more inviting and comfortable places for refugees.
A lot of my work looks at a system change through a decolonised lens. This is looking at how we all can belong in this world, care for each other and live happier, healthier lives. This current system is designed to keep us disconnected not just from the land but also from each other and from our truest self.
In a time of crisis we see how dangerous separation and disconnect can be. My teachings come from my family and also the land, and I cannot stress enough how important it is that we all develop a strong relationship with the land, as water carries memory and in this memory can be the answers to your history.
If you understand we live within a closed system, then you will understand that the same water that your ancestors drank, swam and played in, is the same waters that we drink, swim and play within.
Its now in this time and place, we retrace our ancestral steps by building deep relations with the natural world around us and reclaim our truth. We are nature and we are not separate from her. One thing that connects us all, the breath.
One breathe in, feeling it fill your belly and and out, as you exhale.
A moment of connection.
A moment of nothing.
A moment of freedom.
One breath, one planet.
My partner and I have come up with a motto, a phrase, a mantra for our life.
Beauty, Presence and Pleasure.
We have unlocked our key to our happiness, when things are beautiful and this doesn't have to be superficial, we find we are happier. It can just be a flower in a jar on the bench picked on a walk around the block, the bed neatly made, the walls cleaned and the space cleared.
When we are present with our life, each other and ourselves we have more ease. Taking time to just do face yoga in the car as we drive to and from places, a moment to sit and just breathe together for 5 minutes, listening to music laying on the earth and being present to the sound around us, walking mindfully, all these things bring great joy to our day.
Everybody is different and different practices will appeal to different people, look for anything that drops you deeper into yourself. Sometimes these mindfulness practices helps us see the beauty. Pleasure is the great reward we have when we fill our life with beauty and presence.
We humans are always changing, and our mottos can change too, perhaps sometimes I find it helpful to have a phrase for life, as it sets my attention and intention on how I dream to be in this world. Three simple and achievable ways of being in the world.
My passion in life is to assist others to find their own motto. How do you find your motto? It might be a journey of discovery, perhaps you retrace your ancestral steps to receive guidance from your elders, whether they are alive or dead, you can still find their story or speak to other family members' stories.
Finding your place to belong, starts with understanding your story, understanding your story means understanding that you are not alone and in fact are an intrinsic thread in the web of your family existence. I want to live in a world full of our stories and respect for those who came before us. Whose blood lives on in our bodies.
For me I want to live in a world of community, of community care, of a true knowing and understanding of our connected being. This world exists, it exists inside of you and when you walk your talk, it starts to live outside of you.
Ella holds exquisite deep immersion into cultural awareness and education.
Through movement, embodied meditation, creative cultural practices, fire ceremony, and earth based skills, this is a the opportunity is awaiting you to reclaim the gifts that are yours alone to give as we return to who we really are - our beauty, our joy, our artistry, our expression, as doorways into and led by Indigenous Leaders.
We have a limited number of positions for the camps, as we are gift away many spots to Indigenous flood victims and Indigenous scholarship holders.
The fire has been lit, now time to show up for yourself to find deeper connection and respect for self, community and the land.