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Development   /  Julie Nihill

Bukal Bukal

One woman’s journey to return her great grandfathers Shell Regalia but first overcome the racism that withholds it.


Impact areas






  • DIRECTOR Rhoda Roberts

  • PRODUCER Julie Nihill



A young Aboriginal woman suffers an egregious act of racism and decides that getting an education is the only way to eradicate racism for herself and others. Her fight for the return of her great grandfather’s Shell Regalia from it’s British Museum basement prison becomes the talisman for identifying racism at the very core of our laws and policies in Justice, Health, Education and Museums. The first Aboriginal person to be professionally employed at the United Nations she becomes an advocate for human rights, and all life on Earth, bringing Indigenous people from around the world to the table for the first time. With a brilliant international career in front of her, she realises her destiny is with her own people. She returns home to carry out her mission and creates a powerful solution, showing the Australian government the way forward, yet again. Bukal Bukal is not only a powerful story about a brilliant Aboriginal woman, it is also about our history, our law and Australia’s future.

Support this project

18.48% funded
  • $280,000.00

  • $51,750.00

  • 16

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Argo Foundation $20,000.00
Argo Foundation $15,000.00
Danielle Glover $5,000.00
heather oswald $5,000.00
Argo Foundation $5,000.00
Bernie Hobbs $100.00
Jane Castle $100.00
Ella Wright $50.00
Marita Wright $200.00
Jane Clark $200.00
Julia White $200.00
Siri Hayes $200.00
Bree McKilligan $50.00
Natalie Duffy $100.00
Judith Preston $500.00
Sandy Edwards $50.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

1. Aboriginal Racism is written into Australian Law and policy. Symbolised and revealed by the Shell regalia in it's British Museum basement prison.

2. Henrietta connects the past, brings it into the present revealing pathways forward for us as a Nation, and for our common humanity.

3. Empowerment of women - Henrietta has spent her entire life trying to be heard in white and black patriarchy.

4. The matriarchal line  where women are the teachers, the custodians of knowledge passed on, through story, culture and Two Way learning which is bedrock of Henrietta’s success

5. Activism and unprecedented Global Leadership Role Modelling- Henrietta is the quiet revolutionary making change through dogged persistence, tenacity and dedication to her people. Her totemic characteristics reveal themselves.

6. The circular non linear Indigenous thinking and how the west can learn to solve its current problems. You can’t solve a problem from the same thinking in which the problem was created.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

The return of the Shell Regalia symbolising truth telling re:
- Aboriginal genocide past and present
- Power and potency of Aboriginal culture, it’s spiritual, Earth centred practice and unprecedented planetary success.

The end of western museum ‘ownership’ of colonial loot

Subsequent identification and removal of racist Australian law and policy in ALL Australian institutions. Education and training in institutions, from top down to grass roots eg school curriculum


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

1. First Year
- Documentary shown in 100 schools by end of first year.
- Premiere at Sydney Film Festival, MIFF, Sundance or Dreaming.
- Workbooks and Facilitators guides will have been brought into 100 different organisations.

2. Second Year
- More film festivals
- More schools
- More companies
- Host a real life Summit in Australia, speakers from government agencies, education, business people, politicians, Indigenous Communities

3. Third Year
- Film shown at United Nations with Henrietta appearing.
- International Virtual Summit, representatives from 10 other countries.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

1. I will provide a workbook and facilitators guide to catalyse conversations.
2. Partnership with museum, art galleries and historical society where film is on a loop, ongoing, in its own space
3. I will have quarterly meetings with my Advisory Board which will have participants from different industries and communities, leveraging their contacts. Holding myself accountable for benchmarks.
4. Festival Inclusion, national and global, Television & Cinema release


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Henrietta supported communities across Aust, for 9 yrs with The Christensen Fund.(US)
Instit. Racism
Bob Weatherall CICP
Sandra Levers Aust. Indigenous Leadership Centre
Gerry Miers – Grant Thornton
Kenny Bedford Reconciliation Aust.
Katie Kiss Snr Policy Advisor Qld Gov.
Scott McDougall Qld Anti Discrim. Commissioner, Min. Leann Enoch
Ruth Venables Reg Mgr, FNQ Region, Qld Human Rights Comm
Lydia Miller ExecDirAust Council, Stephen Ung DATSIP
M Healy MP Cairns
Chris Bourke(Canberra), Neil Wilmot (Bris) Donella Mills NACCHO
Matthew Trinca, Dir Nat Museum of Aust
Dr Jim Thomson CEO/Dir Qld Museum
Tailaiake Alfred Uni of Vic, Canada
John Scott UNSCBD Montreal
Chandra Roy UNPF11
Zoe Tryon UK Indig. Women Envir&Biodiv
Toby McLeod Sacred Lands Film San Fran
Jodie Duiugan-George Assoc Vice Chancellor CQU
Sandra Harding Vice Chancellor JCU
Gracelyn Smallwood Prof Nursing Midwifery CQU
Stephen Schnierer Adj Assoc Prof EnvirScience &

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. Fundamental change in attitudes, language, discussion and thinking
2. Support for removal of racism from Australian Law through activation of local MP’s, radio talkback, all media
3. Support for repatriation of Indigenous family belongings and ancestral remains through activation of local MP’s, all media discussion
4. Support for establishment of First Nations ‘Cultural Centres’ to receive stolen family belongings through local MP’s and government action
5. Support for government funded Indigenous Self governing support for ancestral trauma release in Indigenous communities through local MP’s and government bodies, media discussion, talkback.
6. Support for national implementation of Henrietta’s Health Matrix for Revealing Racism in Institutions , currently successfully running in Queensland Health. expansion throughout and Australia and internationally.
7. Support for curriculum implementation of film’s programs in primary, secondary and tertiary levels by government departments.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

1. Repatriation of family belongings and ancestral remains.
- Government funded ‘Cultural Centres’ nationwide

2. Change racist Australian law
- Laws amended in accordance with basic human rights
- Aboriginal self governing programs to release ancestral trauma
- Drop in suicide, drug use, depression, high mortality, jail rates,

3. Education and training in schools, changing beliefs and behaviours of future generations, becoming part of curriculum:
- Re education of true history of Australia and accompanying acknowledgement on a national scale affecting all levels of education and curriculum.

4. Education and training for police, businesses and government agencies, museums and art galleries
– Drop in suicide, depression, drug use, jail incarceration

5. The International Institute for Eradicating Racism and it's documentaries, films, publications and summits becomes an ongoing resource.