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Internationally renowned speaker Zoë Tryon presents public forum at CQUni Cairns campus

Published:16 November 2018

Internationally renowned speaker Zoë Tryon presented a public forum at CQUni Cairns campus.

Internationally renowned speaker Zoë Tryon presented a public forum at CQUni Cairns campus earlier this week.

Known for her work with Indigenous communities globally, Zoë is a graduate of both Manchester University and Sydney University and presented the special public forum to an internal and external audience.

The anthropologist, environmental activist, speaker, artist and daughter of Lady Dale Tryon is a strong supporter of Indigenous people and has worked and lived with the Achuar, Shuar, Kichua, and  Waorani peoples in the Ecuadorian Amazon and Andes since 2006.

“The honourable Zoë Tryon is not just an international guest but an aristocratic member and it was an honour to have her present at the CQUni Cairns campus,” CQUni Associate Professor Indigenous Engagement Henrietta Marrie said.

“Her talk was inspirational and a real hit to the people who were there. They were so inspired by her talk. She also spoke about the incredible journey walking through the rainforest with Kuku Ngungkal people.”

Zoë said it was Assoc Prof Marrie who initiated the speaking opportunity in Cairns.

"We met at the Indigenous peoples summit on climate change in Anchorage, Alaska about 10 years ago and became firm friends," Zoë explained.

"Henrietta has kindly been trying to get me out here ever since! I came to visit her country and learn about Aboriginal culture. We had a wonderful trip into the rainforest and I met many of her relatives and visited special places. I am very lucky.

"We were very lucky to be invited to take part in a welcoming smoking ceremony to be especially smoked in the simultaneously toxic/healing smoke of the Kujuballa aka Cooktown Ironwood leaves. It was a beautiful cleansing ceremony and welcomed us to country and we were told that it would keep us safe on country, we then went on big hikes to sacred waterfalls deep in the bush which was utterly magnificent."

Assoc Prof Marrie said Zoë also spoke about her life and growing up as an aristocrat.

“She grew up with her mother hosting high-profile, large events - for her, that life wasn’t her ideal - she wanted to find herself, so she spoke about 'finding our place in the world',” Assoc Prof Marrie said.

“She spoke about being vulnerable and gave some very personal accounts of her growing up, as she put it 'moving through vulnerability and fear can be very transformative'."

When Zoë was asked to go to the Amazon she took it up and learned a lot more about healing powers from the rainforest and from the people that she talked with than she had ever learnt in her life as an aristocrat.”

Assoc Prof Marrie said Zoë used her influential position to highlight the issues that the Indigenous people of the Amazon were facing.

“She realised that her position where she come from and who she is actually helped solve some huge issues that the Indigenous people of the Amazon were facing and as such became an activist for what was going on through mining.

“Ultimately she was telling people that it doesn’t matter what walk of life you come from, you can still fall prey to unnecessary lifestyles and she learnt a lot from being with the Indigenous people of the Amazon.

"Zoë said that what she learnt from them is what made a difference in the way she saw and felt the world around her.

"In her words: 'As a little girl I always felt out of place, an alien in my family. Born the eldest child in a British aristocratic family that still observes male primogeniture'."

Currently based between Wiltshire, England, Ecuador and the US, Zoë speaks worldwide on the interconnected issues of environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility - and how we can apply extraordinary wisdom from tribal cultures to our lives today.

Zoë is in Australia for five weeks and will speak at events in Melbourne and Sydney before returning to the UK.