• By Terri Janke

Thank you, Dr B Marika AO

Dr Marika, Rirratingu woman from Yirrkala, the last living applicant of the Carpets Case passed last month. I am devastated. I can't believe it. She was one of my heroes.


A positive, forward thinking woman, she taught me about Indigenous copyright and continued to teach me since I was a young lawyer working on the carpets case in 1995.

She really inspired me to work in Aboriginal copyright. She was the only woman applicant, and her voice was strong in culture and also strong for whitefella law reform. She let me write articles and case studies about her. She gave her time teaching people how to understand culture. She fought for artists rights, spoke up for land rights and women’s rights, and caring for country, looking after people, and the youth.


Dr Marika was celebrated. She had a doctorate, an Order of Australia Medal and many other honours. She leaves children, grandchildren and great grandchildren who she spoke about often. I send my greatest condolences. She leaves her works in our national and state collection. Her story is in legal journals and listened to by international organisations. She held our attention with the way she could tell a story.


Dr Marika and I stayed in contact continuously throughout the years. The firm did a number of probono matters for her during this time. I advocated to government inquiries with her. In 2001, I nominated her for a Red Ochre Award, which she, of course, won. It was a well-deserved accolade. We recently worked on a matter for her which took me back to the days of working on the carpets case.


I am so proud to have known her. I am proud to have her works on my wall. They are the story of her country. The tell the story of her backbone. I love these works, but I can’t look at them now. Not while I am so sad. Dr Marika's family have asked for her name, image and her art not to be shown during cultural mourning period.


I am forever indebted to this graceful woman. I hope to continue her legacy for the protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP).


Much love and respect for her spirit. She will always shine bright in my memory.




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