The Jim Bettison and Helen James Foundation was established to realise the vision of Dr Jim Bettison and Ms Helen James through the annual Bettison and James Award. Adelaide Film Festival administers the Bettison & James Award on behalf of the Jim Bettison and Helen James Foundation.
We are honoured to present the 2023 Award to Ngarrindjeri/Kaurna Elder Uncle Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner AM.
Major Sumner AM – Uncle Moogy – is a world- renowned performer and cultural ambassador of Ngarrindjeri arts, crafts, martial arts and traditional culture. His work spans performance, traditional dance and song, cultural advice and handcrafting of traditional shields, clubs, boomerangs and spears. He is a strong advocate and mentor for his people and his culture, and has featured in film, theatre and documentary across Australia and internationally.
Uncle Moogy reconnected his communities with the traditional art of canoe building, by crafting the first Ngarrindjeri bark canoe to be made in over 100 years on Ngarrindjeri Boandik country, in south eastern South Australia (using a high-tech cherry picker to get up the tree). He is constantly reminding his audience to consider Ngarrindjeri and other Aboriginal culture as a living culture, spanning thousands of years.
On a day-to-day basis, you can find Uncle Moogy at the Aboriginal Sobriety Group, which he helped found, or at the South Australian Museum working with Aboriginal communities around Australia to bring ancestors home from Museums here and abroad. It is work he has passionately done for decades.
Uncle Moogy was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2014, the South Australian Premier’s NAIDOC Award in 2021, and was inducted into the SA Environment Hall of Fame in 2021.
Sit down and listen to Uncle Moogy tell his remarkable life story
From growing up on a mission, living in and out of jail, sobriety, an Order of Australia Medal to what it means to be in the SA Environment Hall of Fame.
Introduction by Frank Lampard OAM.
Presented by the Jim Bettison & Helen James Foundation.