“By putting a whole range of projects together that mark out some kind of broad perimeter that Aboriginality can exist inside of, it’s offering more than a tick-the-box example, or a single way of thinking of our world. We’re pulling Aboriginality out in lots of different directions because we are more diverse. And no one else gets to define who we are. We get to define who we are,” says 2017 festival director Wesley Enoch.
Social media users are perfectly aware that they’re ensconced in a bubble, and prefer it that way. It is a wilful ignorance. Conflicting perspectives, regardless of their substance, are flatly rejected or simply blocked. Self-affirmation is the objective. And in a climate of socioeconomic disenfranchisement and political disaffection, that participation imparts a measure of agency. This is the much vaunted democratising affordance of social media, and a cruel irony.
Putting face to the many loving and intact Aboriginal families and engaged and active #IndigenousDads is necessary to reject Leak’s caricature of us, equally we need to find a way to talk about some sad realities beyond the reach of the Bill Leaks of the world and beyond the reach of those who fight with or against him over the top of us.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day has been formally celebrated since 1988, when we took to the streets in protest. In truth, Children’s Day has been celebrated in community, in some form or another, for much longer than that.
These are various questions I have been asked about the whole idea of ‘Sorry” over the years. Some of the answers are what I have said, others what I should have said, and some others I probably shouldn’t have said, but I did; so, you know… sorry about that.
Q. “Why should I be sorry for what my ancestors did?”
Trigger Warning: This article contains personal stories of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
My story of ongoing survivorship of mental health issues is not unique. There is no triumphant victory at the end of this article. My personal history which I have chosen to share has no miraculous breakthroughs, no Hollywood ending of a woman having a road to Damascus moment, there is no phoenix rising from the ashes in this intimate account.