Posted by carolom on January 31, 2008
The “Sorry” issue regarding the abuse of Human Rights in Australia against the Aboriginal nations since the invasion of traditional lands and subsequent occupation (”Colonisation”) is one of the most pressing issues in Australia today.
As the internet flooded with debate / support / opposition and a tsunami of ill informed opinions and the quick sand of racist stereotyping I was reminded of the words of my friend Katrina Power, a Nurrunga~Ngarindjerri~Kaurna woman who said “there hasn’t been first contact yet”, referring to how the original violence and oppression meant that true “contact” did not occur. Contact in the form of mutual respect, discussion, negotiation and partnership as should be expected when one lot of people arrive uninvited into the home of another.
So I decided to have a “Thankyou” Day in amongst the hoo ha and emotional politics of the announcement that the official Sorry will occur on February 13th 2008.
I was pleased that the ABC Opinions page featured my letter in its entirety.
Thank You Day
Australia Day is Invasion Day for some.
Well, I am going to declare “Thankyou Day” for my Aboriginal friends and colleagues.
• Thankyou for caring for the land for so many thousands of years and demonstrating the importance of living in harmony with nature’s laws
• Thankyou to the Elders who are the custodians of the Dreaming Stories, the ‘genesis’ of this great land that contain so much that 21st century Australia needs to know about balance, harmony and respect
• Thankyou to the Women in the centre who do the night patrol and who work tirelessly to put things right
• Thankyou to young Aboriginal Australians like Tania Major who are called from a very young age to serve community over the interests of the individual self
• Thankyou to all of the Bringing Them Home counsellors who spend their whole working life assisting the Stolen Generation to find their family and to deal with the deep grief of loss and trauma
• Thankyou to the organisers of the State Aboriginal Sports Carnival – a significant sporting event that received no mainstream media coverage in 2007, in spite of being a rich pool of emerging talent that the major leagues draw from
• Thankyou to the sisterhood shown by the members of the Aboriginal women’s group who have endured the loss of two, young members in recent times, reflecting the reality of the impact of Aboriginal people dying many years sooner than others
• Thankyou to all of the Aboriginal people I have met who demonstrate time and again resilience and tenacity in the face of systemic racism, many exiled by farming and mining interest from their home country and sacred places.
I’m very sorry that most non-Aboriginal people have had few personal connections and even fewer role models and teachers from the Aboriginal community and may never know the depth of knowledge, wisdom and spirituality that defines traditional Aboriginal ways
…….…and a very special Thankyou Nungala , a survivor and cultural warrior of the Stolen Generation who is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for family and community.
Thankyou sister for not only having the strength to heal but the courage to walk with others on their journey of grief, loss and recovery.Love You….. you inspirational Mimini~Goddess extraordinaire with fantastic hair!!