Anyone reading the “Little Red Yellow Black Book” (LRYBB) should expect to have their perspectives and understanding changed. It will surprise you, in all the right ways… Who knew I could gain so much, from a humble 140 pages? I consider myself pretty aware of issues within history and day to day events, but I was amazed at how many facts and perspectives in LRYBB were new to me. And stories of people I hadn’t previously heard about, and should have… I personally believe that too many people in Australia (and around the world) unfortunately don’t know enough about Indigenous Australia, but for those who are interested in learning more, this is essential reading.
There is a countless stream of racist ideas that anybody who so much as mentions anything to do with Aboriginal people hears on a very regular basis.
I am from both the Bardi and Gija peoples of the Kimberley. My mother, her mother, and all my mothers before her were Aboriginal women. I am the product of past polices and practices, but also of love and reconciliation.
I grew up all over Australia. My family never really settled and looking back, I think it was the pull between black and white, between my mother’s country in the Kimberley and my Gudiya (non-Aboriginal) father’s place in the Blue Mountains that replicated my own inner turmoil in understanding Aboriginality.
Was pretty excited recently to learn that Wiradjuri man Joe Williams had won the Wagga Wagga Citizen of the Year award, but was also instantly worried for him. I knew that Joe would use this opportunity to talk about what he believes in, and that a lot people would not be happy to hear it.
Today is Invasion Day for my people, officially known as Australia Day, an anniversary of the day when white Australia began its occupation of this country and commenced its mass genocide of the first peoples of this land. There isn’t much I can say that hasn’t already been said by countless others, but I grow tired of and frustrated by the relentless calls for our silence about this countries horrific history; particularly at this time of year.
I’m the first to admit that I think a lot about seemingly random stuff… I like to unpack things that are said to see what deeper meaning they might represent, or what patterns of thought or inconsistencies they might reveal.
I am an Aboriginal women, born in 1987 into a staunch family who were ready to teach me and my siblings the truth from birth. They had walked the walk and had earned their right to talk the talk, to educate. But before I had even left my mother’s womb, I was a statistic, another Aboriginal person to be counted on the census to add to the 3% or so of other Aboriginal people that made up our population in 1987 on a continent where only 199 years prior to my birth, we made up 100% of it. By 1900, it was estimated that the Aboriginal population had decreased by 87%.
Every ‘Australia Day’ it all starts again… no, that’s not right. It doesn’t ‘start again’ because it never stopped. It never stops. Ever.
Last June, the Queen’s Birthday public holiday passed by with very little fanfare. The Queen’s Birthday Honours were announced, and a small number of formal government events were hosted. But by and large, the meaning of the day has largely lost its significance among the public, becoming simply about getting the day off work. While we all enjoy the day off, the day could become far more symbolic of our national history.
This day commemorating of the Queen’s official birthday has little significance in the lives of the vast majority of Australians. It is a hangover from Australia’s colonial past. Last year my main emotion, along with many other Canberrans, was a sense of relief that Tony Abbott didn’t award another one of his infamous knighthoods.
Looking back in retrospect from a little before 11:30 a.m. yesterday morning to now 4 minutes after 7pm [16th January, 2016] while typing up this article, I can only reflect on the impacts of virtual games on young people in today’s modern society.