Tag Archives: aboriginal

Sad

I was in Bondi today. I saw the sign below.” Equality” was “NO WAY”

Ok, so this sign was actually referring to the debate we have right now in Parliament with regards to same sex marriage, but the word really doesn’t say that, it is just implied or assumed.

I think it is really sad, that one word, which expresses that we the poster wants everybody to be treated equally, not just gays seeking marriage, but the concept that “All men are created equal” , therefore deserve to be treated equally can be disputed. It is not just gay people who are treated differently in Australia. It is the disabled, it is the asylum seekers, it is women, it is people who have different colour skin, earn less money, etc etc.

Where do people get off thinking that their own ideology, their skin colour or sexual orientation is any better than someone else’s. Someone doesn’t agree with you? they are not as worthy as you of such privileges that your life deserves. I’m sorry, but that makes me sad.20171102_132450

 

The second sign I saw was a stencil (after Banksy). Lest we forget 1788.

This of course refers to the colonisation of Australia. When Captain Cook declared this country as belonging to England. Did they ask the indigenous people whether they could stay. No. Did they perhaps compensate the aboriginals for land taken, as one would do when they buy land. NO, Not that the aboriginals had a choice to sell it anyway. English Settlers used to abhor squatters who would live off their land, rent free, using the resources without paying. Truth be told, the settlers were squatters themselves. The English sent people to Australia from Britain for stealing as little as a loaf of bread. What sentence did they get for stealing a country?

My family arrived after the first settlers, so I, and many like me are not to blame for what happened over 200 years ago. We live in an enlightened time though, when we can look back and say, ” the way the aboriginal people were treated was wrong”. Saying sorry now does not admit wrong from my family, but we can say that we are sorry that this happened. We can try and make recompense and ensure it never happens again.

Other countries can’t poke a finger and say it was terrible what happened. It happened to so many countries in the world. The British, French, Portuguese, Spanish and others invaded lands and claimed that land as their own without consulting the people that were already there.

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I dont have legs to march in protest rallies, but I have fingers which can type, and a heart that can feel. I will not be silenced until we have equality. Jesus said Love One Another. Lets start now.

Dave

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My Place

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Go into any backyard in the old parts of Sydney, Blacktown in the west, Earlwood in the south, and Asquith in the north. You will find in these yards a lawn surrounded by a mix of natives and introduced species. But go to a derelict building, and the natives take over again, killing off all the introduced species. It Is the paspaplum and kangaroo grass that survives, growing high, through cracks and crevasses left in crumbling fibro houses. It’s the wattle and the bottlebrush that somehow survive or repropogate in the same spots year after year. These are plant that can be pruned, shaped to fit into a cultivated garden, to look pretty, to keep within the borders.

When the hard times come, it’s the natives that survive. When bushfire ravages the Royal National Park, or the Blue Mountains, It’s the Banksia plants that will come up first. The fire having popped all the seed pods, and the ash covered them into the soil. The Coastal Rosemaries grow up again, and we see new branches appearing from old stumps of the mighty Gum trees. The natives of Australia are resilient.

So too the native people of our land. We as westerners, colonisers, really gave the indigenous population a hard time, from the time we arrived and claimed the land to be ours, right to the present day.

My Place by Sally Morgan is a book that describes lives of indigenous people with the trials and tribulations, the hard times, and the funny ones too. She tells it first in first person narrative, but then switches to narrative after interviewing various characters, REAL PEOPLE, in her book.

Sally has been highlighting abuses and inequality in our country for over 30 years. It is because of Sally, and others like her, that indigenous people have felt comfortable to expose themselves for who they really are. Sally tells primarily indigenous people that they don’t have to be ashamed of who they are any more. If people around you are uncomfortable with that, STIFF, they can get out of the way, cause the natives are here to stay.

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What and incredible lesson for all of us to learn. No matter what culture you belong to, where you come from, it’s important to find out who you are, and be comfortable with who you are. Be ashamed no more.

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Sally Morgan’s Nan and bush remedies

The chapter entitled “Growing Up”  in Sally Morgan’s biography, “My Place” explains how Sally’s Nan places half onions around the house in order to keep away germs and disease. Sally comes home from High school one day telling her Nan that the science teacher said it was just an old wives tale, and that raw onions don’t do anything to keep disease away.

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I decided to research this. It seems that this remedy goes back as far as the 1500’s when many where dying from influenza and the plague. A doctor was doing the rounds of town and each household had members of the family affected by illness…except one. The doctor asked the farmer and his wife what they did differently. The farmers wife explained that she placed onions in the rooms of the house to absorb the germs. When the doctor checked the onions under the microscope, it was found that the onions did in fact absorb the influenza virus. I was amazed.

I looked up other remedies to see what else was being said.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is a product that has recently come under the spotlight as having benefits beyond just being added to salads and other culinary delights. It has been known to have healing properties since as far back as 5,oooBC, The Egyptians were using it as an antiseptic and a weight loss method that long ago.Hippocrates in ancient Greece told his students to prescribe Oxymel, which was a combination of vinegar and honey, to bring up phlegm and make breathing easier. Vinegar is often used as a preservative, It was also used for sterilising wounds and instruments, Apple Cider Vinegar is said to have its healing properties because of its high alkaline properties. Also this product can be used as a preventative. Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermenting apples, to produce the Cider, then fermenting again to produce the Vinegar. It retains all the nutritional properties of apples themselves, so is packed with vitamins and lots of other good chemicals.

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Gum Leaves

Gum leaves are said to have healing properties when crushed in a bowl and boiling water is used to fill the bowl. Put your head over it, with the obligatory tea towel to keep in the vapors and inhale.

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While we are on Aussie cures and deterrents, it is said that Detol in a spray bottle can kill Cane Toads. Give it a try Queensland!

Other Bush Remedies

In Warrabri, the Northern territory the cure for earache is squeezing the fatty part of a witchetty grub into the sore ear. While in Uluru, the cure is squeezing rabbit urine into the ear.

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Emu bush leaves, which were used by Northern Territory Aboriginal tribes to sterilise sores and cuts. The leaves are now being considered by Australian scientists as a viable steriliser for implants.

Tea tree oil is used for many things including an antiseptic and a mouth wash, it can also be used as a tea to soothe sore throats.

Eucalyptus leaves can be infused for body pains and fevers and chills. Today the oil is used commercially in mouthwash, throat lozenges and cough suppressants.

The list goes on and on. While scientists have found that some of these remedies to be false, many have been adopted into modern day civilisations. Its funny, if we just look back into history, we can find that a lot of what was said and done to be true, but its like when the discovery is made by modern man, we seem to claim it as the latest new thing.

Aboriginals like Sally Morgans Nanna used a great many things for the physical healing, but were aware that its not just the body that needs healing. They place a great emphasis in making sure the whole person is well, including emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Dance and song play an important part in the health of a person and of equal importance to having a good diet and exercise.

So people, don’t forget to dance.

further reading on aboriginal cures:  http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/history-culture/2011/02/top-10-aboriginal-bush-medicines/

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Spiritual Importance of Dance

In every culture there seems to be an importance placed on music and dance. The music and dance of a culture tells stories of ancestors and events that have happened in the past. Passing on the dance and the song keeps the story alive. One is able to connect with the spiritual aspect of a culture by viewing or participating in the dance of that people.

For the Native American people, it was and still is important to keep the story of the Ghost dance at Wounded Knee in the hearts and minds of the generations to come. This story is similar to the end time prophecies in the bible. All the dead shall no longer be dead but we will be able to dance with them. There will be no more tears and crying, no wounded or sick. People will be happy and will have enough provisions. The buffalo will return, the white man will be no more.

It was the great native American dream. That the land would be restored to them, that the white men would leave and the animals would once again roam on the plains. This is the promise of times to come, not for now. If the native american were to hope for it in this current age, then I am afraid they will be a little disappointed. In fact, the white man has not finished taking land from the natives. President Donald Trump has allowed the Dakota access pipeline to go ahead, encroaching on Sioux land, and potentially poisoning the waterways that give the Sioux nations their drinking water.

For African people, and African American people, the dance is not something that they make up but one that is passed on from generations before. The dance is spiritual, embedded in them from birth. The moves are not new, they are ancient and have meaning.

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Likewise, the Australian Aboriginal people have dance and music as part of their culture. They tell stories of events by portraying animals and other things in nature in the dancing. Literature for the native people groups around the world may not be a written language but a language, with stories, fiction and non-fiction being told in the dance. To the native people of these countries and more, dance is not something for entertainment but to pass on the knowledge of what came before. It is a spiritual connection with nature and with the ancestors.

 

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Close your eyes… pretend you can’t see

As  a teenager I wrote this passage that has stayed with me over the years

“Close your eyes

Pretend you cant see… and perhaps it will all go away”

I have grown up now. I have seen things that nobody should have to see. Not because we should pretend they are not there, but because the things I have seen should not happen. I have held a dying alcoholic in my arms. I have bound the wounds of too many children who have attempted suicide. I have seen kids drugged, whether they did it to themselves or others have done it to them to use them. I have been on the wrong end of a gun more than once. I have seen the inhumanity that man is capable of inflicting to his fellow man.

I have grown up now. I am not so inwardly focused that I think “If I feel OK then the world is a good place”. I have become outwardly focused. Since doing Ethics at Uni, and then Sociology, I have become morally and socially aware and responsible. I understand now how others become social or political activists. I have become outraged at the way people treat others. I want to scream from the mountaintops for people to open their eyes and not just accept what they have been told in the media, or by politicians who have their own agenda.

Now this is by no means a religious spiel, but I think Jesus had the right idea. LOVE ONE ANOTHER. If we love one another and care what happens to fellow humans, regardless of their skin colour, sexual orientation, gender, disability or deformity, or any other discriminatory factor, then wouldn’t the world be a better place?

It is not enough that I personally do what is right towards others. I should not keep silent when I see others being treated with less rights or dignity than someone else. I cannot leave it to someone else to voice their opinion while i silently nod my head in the background.

My passion has become justice. Justice for everyone. This is not just in terms of retributive justice; that is punishing someone who has committed an offence, but ensuring that each person is treated fairly and justly. And if a law is wrong, then protest and petition for the law to be changed.

There is a difference between what is legal and what is right. I am committed to become an advocate to upholding that which is morally right.

When I studied ethics, I championed the cause of those held in detention when attempting to come to Australia as Asylum Seekers. Ethics opened my eyes to so many injustices in the world. I am now passionate about aboriginal issues, immigration, slavery, oppression of women and inequality due to sexual orientation or gender identification. I am so ashamed at the way my country’s government treats others, espousing that what they are doing is legal.

It is up to every one of us, as citizens of a country, or citizens of the world, to not only do the right thing but to protest when we see an injustice. As a citizen of a democratic country, I can petition and protest my government and its representatives until action is taken. I can plead with them to act morally responsible and humanely in its dealings with people regardless of who they are, where they come from or how they got here.

I implore you, Open your eyes, don’t pretend any longer. It is only through action, that it will all go away.

Dave

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Sunday Stills, the next challenge: Light my Fire

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This photo is taken at Firelighting. Firelighting is the opening ceremony to Corroboree Sydney. This is an annual event that brings together all of the aboriginal nations for a time of sharing. Sharing dance, art, music, stories and culture. Sharing ideas between the elders of the nations so they can live in harmony for the advancement of iindigenouspeople. The fire is said to be a culmination of flames from each other the nations, brought together in one vessel that will continually burn over the 11 days of events. This year indigenous people groups from other countries including the maoris from New Zealand and the First Nation Peoples from Canada were invited to join in. I am looking forward to seeing films and culture from these people groups as well this year. I was there to photograph firelighting last year too, and some of the dancers recognised me and posed for me. A good time was had by all.

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Travel theme: Colourful

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I live in the art community in Sydney so I don’t need to travel far to find something colourful. On this occasion though, I snapped this while attending a function for Corroboree Sydney. This fine lady is the manager of a group of young Aboriginal dancers who performed at last nights function. I just loved her top and had to photograph it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

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These Pictures were taken at an ancient Australian Aboriginal traditional meeting called Firelighting. It is the opening ceremony to Corroboree, which is the meeting of Aboriginal nations to share information; traditionally about hunting grounds, weather, fishing etc. It is a very sacred time for the Aboriginals and we in Sydney were very privileged to be allowed to view this.

I have tried to pick a few from the ceremony that I hadn’t previously posted. Apologies to those of you who may have already seen some of these.

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30/11/2013 · 11:54 pm

Troubles with Blog

I think I got a virus or something in my browser. First time I have ever had trouble with firefox. I couldnt upload multiple pictures, view notifications and other things. A friend suggested I try another Browser, which I have now done, and added more photos to my previous post entitled Firelighting. Now you will be able to experience more of the event as 7 photos are posted instead of just the one. Apologies to my regular followers.

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Firelighting Ceremony

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The firelighting ceremony is an important part of coroboree for the Australian Indigenous peoples. It is similar to the opening ceremony of the modern olympics. I was privileged to attend this event last night.

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16/11/2013 · 2:06 pm