Tag Archives: indigenous

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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Judith Wright Poems

Judith Wright was a poet with insights into indigenous people and nature. She told of patterns in life, and in Australia. She and Patrick White both saw patterns. I wonder if they would have got on well together, if anybody could indeed keep White as a friend.

In Five Senses, we see that all five senses are equally important. They create a rhythm, a pattern. Apart, sometimes we can not make sense of what we see, what we hear, or smell or feel. But together they dance. The senses working together create a pattern, which, when followed, can enhance a persons life, make them whole.

Like the world or community. When we are fragmented we are only a part of a whole, incomplete. Sure we can make our own music, but the symphony comes when all instruments work together, playing the same tune.

Judith says :”pattern sprung from nothing-
a rhythm that dances
and is not mine”.  The pattern or Rhythm of life was there before, it was only now that Judith has recognised it for what it is. By saying “It is not mine” acknowledges that the Rhythm comes from outside the body, but is implanted within us, perhaps that Rhythm of life is from God.

Now my five senses
gather into a meaning
all acts, all presences;
and as a lily gathers
the elements together,
in me this dark and shining,
that stillness and that moving,
these shapes that spring from nothing,
become a rhythm that dances,
a pure design.

While I’m in my five senses
they send me spinning
all sounds and silences,
all shape and colour
as thread for that weaver,
whose web within me growing
follows beyond my knowing
some pattern sprung from nothing-
a rhythm that dances
and is not mine.

 

Legend – Poem by Judith Wright

The blacksmith’s boy went out with a rifle
and a black dog running behind.
Cobwebs snatched at his feet,
rivers hindered him,
thorn branches caught at his eyes to make him blind
and the sky turned into an unlucky opal,
but he didn’t mind.
I can break branches, I can swim rivers, I can stare out
any spider I meet,
said he to his dog and his rifle.

The blacksmith’s boy went over the paddocks
with his old black hat on his head.
Mountains jumped in his way,
rocks rolled down on him,
and the old crow cried, You’ll soon be dead.
And the rain came down like mattocks.
But he only said,
I can climb mountains, I can dodge rocks, I can shoot an old crow any day,
and he went on over the paddocks.

When he came to the end of the day, the sun began falling,
Up came the night ready to swallow him,
like the barrel of a gun,
like an old black hat,
like a black dog hungry to follow him.
Then the pigeon, the magpie and the dove began wailing
and the grass lay down to pillow him.
His rifle broke, his hat blew away and his dog was gone and the sun was falling.

But in front of the night, the rainbow stood on the mountain,
just as his heart foretold.
He ran like a hare,
he climbed like a fox;
he caught it in his hands, the colours and the cold –
like a bar of ice, like the column of a fountain,
like a ring of gold.
The pigeon, the magpie and the dove flew up to stare,
and the grass stood up again on the mountain.

The blacksmith’s boy hung the rainbow on his shoulder
instead of his broken gun.
Lizards ran out to see, snakes made way for him,
and the rainbow shone as brightly as the sun.
All the world said, Nobody is braver, nobody is bolder,
nobody else has done
anything equal to it. He went home as easy as could be
with the swinging rainbow on his shoulder.

When I first read this poem, I thought that the Blacksmiths boy was perhaps a gay boy who knew that he could do anything he put his mind to. He could conquer everything put in his way. I got the idea that he was gay from the line “The blacksmith’s boy hung the rainbow on his shoulder”. However, the rainbow wasn’t adopted by the gay community until the late 70’s. Even though it is possible that this poem was written after that period, there is no proof of that. I thought that perhaps putting the rainbow on his shoulder, and the rainbow shone brightly was alluding to gay pride. But equally it could be talking about proud to be an aborigine, proud to be who you are and showing the world. The blacksmiths boy was a violent masculine boy, but he exchanged his gun for a rainbow and became peaceful. Perhaps we all need a little rainbow in our lives.Hmm perhaps this one will take further research and analysis.
Dave
footnote. When searching for an image to go with this poem, I found the one below It makes sense, even in the Judith Wright poem. I wonder if Wright was influenced by this quote by Dickens…definitely needs more research.
Image result for blacksmiths boy

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My Place

Image result for sally morgan

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.

Image result for sally morgan

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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Colonisation and “The Tempest”.

Say whose side you are on in the contest between Prospero and Caliban as it appears at the end of Act 1 Sc 2.

How do humans live without so called civilisation?  How do tribes of nomadic indigenous people even survive without the internet, mobile phones or the golden arches of a favorite fast food place.

Fast food for Australian indigenous people was an emu who could travel at 50km per hour or a kangaroo capable of speeds up to 70km per hour. The calling of a relative involved travelling to see them and spending time with them. Instead of Facebook, they had face to face.

We in the western world think that we are far superior to the natives of lands whom we rape for resources and riches. Natives of North America were conned into giving away precious land and resources in exchange for coloured beads. Now the American government just takes the land that has been in traditional ownership for centuries in exchange for nothing. This is sacred land. Land of great importance to the natives. Western man’s greed is greater and to him, more important, than a natives man’s sacred spots. For more on this issue follow the link.

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/01/us/standing-rock-sioux-sacred-land-dakota-pipeline/

Nauru is an island nation that was raped of its resources. The phosphate that was here was a result of an abundant bird life.here The Island has been inhabited by Polynesian and Micronesian people for over 3000 years. Prior to colonisation, this was a land which was plentiful. The people farmed the land growing fruits and vegetables and catching the fish in the waters that surrounded the nation. Then the Germans colonised it and began to rape the land of the phosphate to make their grass green in their own backyards. It continued under British,Australian, and NewZealand administrations after WWI.

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Tall pillars of coral is what remains after the phosphate is removed. © PHILIP GAME/ALAMY

Nauru gained its independence in 1968 but by then the land was barren, the waters polluted and the people reliant on imported canned goods from the western world to feed themselves. This introduced obesity and disease to the land.

In The Tempest, by William Shakespeare we see Prospero come to the Island that was inhabited only by Caliban and Ariel. Ariel was a spirit, trapped in a tree by a witch who had since died and so had no way of release. Prospero released Ariel but placed the spirit in servitude to do his bidding.

Caliban was the son of that same witch. He was born with deformities and was seen in his state to be less than human. He wandered the island and knew it like the back of his hand. He reminds Prospero in his speech in Act 1 Scene 2

“…show’d thee all the qualities o’ the isle,
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place and fertile:”

Before Prospero came, Caliban was King of that Island, although he had no subjects. He would have not been able to procreate, and the Kingdom would have died with him.

Prospero was the coloniser, albeit an unwilling one. Again from that same speech, Caliban states:

“This island’s mine, by Sycorax my mother,
Which thou takest from me. When thou camest first,
Thou strokedst me and madest much of me, wouldst give me
Water with berries in’t, and teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night: and then I loved thee”

and Prospero reminds Caliban

I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes
With words that made them known.

Caliban sought to procreate with Prospero’s daughter, whom at the time was quite young. Caliban did not know the harm he could cause to the girl, or the social graces of courting, wooing and consent. He sought to take her and thus gained the wrath of Prospero and indeed his daughter Miranda.

So the blog question is…Say whose side you are on in the contest between Prospero and Caliban as it appears at the end of Act 1 Sc 2. Is colonisation a good thing? I would have to say no. Colonisation occurs and did occur on the island in The Tempest, to the detriment of the natives who already inhabit the land.

Without Prospero, Caliban would have happily lived on the island, using its resources wisely, respecting and knowing the land intimately. Prospero spoilt that with his attitude of superiority over Caliban.Because he could speak a language which he thought others should be able to speak, and hence communicate, he thought himself better than Caliban whom he couldn’t understand himself.

The western world think they are so much better than the native people who inhabit a place before colonisation. The Australian Settlers deemed the land uninhabited when they landed, even though the natives of the land were clearly evident. The settlers did not think of the natives as human.

We boast our civilisation is a better way if living. In Whose eyes? We say that western medicine is good for helping the natives live longer, free from pain and disease. It was the white man who bought the diseases in a lot of cases. It was also the white man who introduced the indigenous people of Australia to alcohol, and tobacco. It was the white man who bought petrol vehicles to the country and allowed the young people to sniff it, infecting their minds.

There are very few areas in the world not colonised. I believe there are areas in South America and New Guinea who don’t know white man. North Sentinel Island near India, has inhabitants who shoot arrows at airplanes who come to close. Leave them be I say. These people do not need out western society with all the politics, greed and corruption.The people of North Sentinel Island have survived without modern man for 60,000 years. They are doing alright without us.

Sentinelese tribespeople, holding javelins, gather on the shore of North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal 

Sentinelese tribespeople, holding javelins, gather on the shore of North Sentinel Island, located in the Bay of Bengal

So it is a good thing when Prospero is restored to the Dukedom and returns to Milan, leaving a freed Ariel Spirit and Caliban to inhabit the island alone. Perhaps no major damage is done and Caliban is able to restore the Island to the former beauty.

Dave

 

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