reflections on unfinished business
Ep.8: My Culture Story – Reflections on Unfinished Business - transcript
Wutayi and welcome to this episode of My Culture Story.
In this episode I take a slight detour from my usual celebration of our amazing Aboriginal culture and instead I reflect on the ban on climbing Uluru and why it is so controversial. I ask, why is it so hard to show respect? Why is it so hard to acknowledge that Aboriginal people have a special relationship with the land and these important iconic places.
SO the big story for October was finally a ban on climbing Uluru
For many this would seem a non-event.
The owners don’t want visitors trampling all over their special places and have therefore asked these visitors to respect their wishes.
It’s as simple as closing the gates when you visit a farm of pastoral property.
Yet we could be forgiven for thinking there was never something so outrageous and controversial. Whole throngs of people lined up to have their final climb and commentators and social media warriors were so intent on demonstrating their right to be bigots and disrespectful toward the Aboriginal owners and custodians.
And there you have it My Culture Story mob, why is it so hard for many white Australians to demonstrate respect toward the first Australians.
The Prime Minister chose not to attend such an important event in the nations history, instead choosing to spend time at a netball game in Perth. The minister for Indigenous Australians was conspicuously absent and once again it was left to artists and ordinary Australians to celebrate this momentous event in Australian history.
Sadly a new meme emerged NEWULURU with some calling for people to start marching West to tackle that other great monolith in Western Australia, Mt Augustus or Puyunkata.
No thought to ask the questions does this special place also have cultural stories and significance to Aboriginal people.
SO why is it so hard to show respect? Why is it so hard to acknowledge that Aboriginal people have a special relationship with the land and these important iconic places.
In answer to these questions let me draw your attention to a ground breaking and heart rendering Australian Research Council archaeological research project just wrapping up and presenting its findings in Queensland. For the very first time someone has gone out there and collected evidence of the treatment of Aboriginal people in Queensland at the hands of the government body, the Queensland Native Mounted Police. You can find the results of this work at their blog, https://archaeologyonthefrontier.com/ but I must warn you, my Culture Story listeners, if you go there and look up the story please be sure tread carefully.
In this project the researchers have unearthered the evidence in the land, evidence in the archives and evidence in the hearts of descendants of some of the most horrific state sanctioned genocide against a race of people anywhere in the world. I will not repeat any of the findings here in this podcast but what I would like to say, is that the experiences documented are just a snapshot into an example of one Government sponsored program of extermination of Aboriginal people in Australia. There are still countless stories and records waiting to be unearthed and told throughout Australia, documenting the wholescale slaughter and general attitude toward First Australians. I would suggest you will find examples right in your community.
The reason I draw this research to your attention is an attempt to answer those questions I first posed above;
why is it so hard to show respect? Why is so hard to acknowledge that Aboriginal people have a special relationship with the land and these important iconic places.
In my mind, and I would be ever so grateful to be corrected and shown an alternative here, in my mind the reality of the foundation of this lucky country has never been exposed.
Australia was built on brutality, brutality toward the weak, the poor, brutality toward the irish, the scots, the working class, the different faiths, women and coloured races and most profoundly those who have the audacity to be on this land first and all of this brutality and abuse was sanctioned at the highest levels of the empire, within the machinery of government, within the halls of academia and accepted as the natural order by the ruling class.
When we speak of White privilege this is what we are talking about. We are drawing the secure, smug, often pale, stale and male member of the ruling elites attention to how these false modesty claims of merit, of property, security, prosperity, of national pride is built on the foundation stones of a legacy they have never had the guts to engage with.
The right to trample on sacred Aboriginal sites is a right won through the efforts of State owned killing machines like the Queensland Native Mounted Police and its counterparts across the Australian colonies. It is built on the denial of any wrong doing, it is built on terra nullius and it is sustained by this deep rooted illness in our society which will never go away until those in power, those who feed off power and those who aspire as collaborators and foot soldiers are brought to account to take ownership of their privilege and make amends to not only first Australians, but also to women, young people, the poor and infirm.
We pride ourselves as a lucky country, we do have an amazing way of life, but at its core there is a cancer that needs to be treated.
I look forward to living in a society that owns up to its past, that stops trying to drown itself in senseless alcoholism and distraction of sports, that stops killing our women and learn to respect the land and the first peoples of Australia. We have a Culture story we can share and if we walk together we can create a reality for our country that is truly built on those ideals we aspire to.
Well My culture story mob, this episode took some time of reflection and thought. This story is at the heart of all the pain and suffering we have as first peoples and it is the root of the illness that lies beneath the surface of our national consciousness and no matter how hard we try to deny, it affects our wellbeing collectively. I hope by listening to this episode you will find ways to engage with or build a community to support healing.
Please share and refer this episode and My Culture Story podcast to your friends and networks.
Palunya, Ngula nyaku.