Maay Yaama, Barraay Bamba Gulbiir from Biridja Clan, Gamilaraay Nation, Ngunnawal Nation.
The title of this article, Warranggal Warruwi towards Maal Circle, means powerful pathways towards one circle and that is fundamentally what I hope our nations across this continent can achieve – as our life giver is on the line and there are powerful odds stacked against us.
This is a Ngibaay(strange) way to start a yarn or send a digital Maang (message stick) but these are strange days and we have to utilise all tools of engagement and attempt to unify humans on a larger scale, especially when life is on the line. Here is a video that I co-produced that seeks to give voice to some of the many mob in community, fighting daily to protect country – an insight created with respect to all and I hope we can continue having this conversation and hearing from more voices in Gomeroi country and those across the continent engaged in similar struggles to we can unite.
Gali is water, Water is Life.
We Gamilaraay and Ngunnawal are fish river people along with many other tribal nations all connected via the rivers and songlines, interspersed with cultural knowledge shared in our circle of people to protect and serve the country that has been our life force since time immemorial.
Sacred sites of creation, initiation and celebration or corroboree as others may be familiar with are all currently at risk of destruction at the hands of corporations with little to no regard or respect for cultural heritage or systems of care and protection. It pains me to think of the ancient food bowls, environmental and animal extinction as a result of narrow-minded greedy profit driven actions of so called political leaders. They send a message that the economic value of mining and cotton farming outweigh that of the need to leave our water our rivers and sacred sites safe, in rightful places to prevent further climate change and also provide sustainability for future generations.
We are protectors of country that are labelled as ‘activists’ to portray a disconnected image and scare mainstream society away from issues at hand. However, we have proud mob who are doing the work with their own varied skill sets to contribute to our obligation to care for the life giver. It is vital that we keep the Wii (fire) burning and maintain and build upon our unification to show the political powers that this is not just mob fighting – that non-Indigenous people are waking up and demanding justice on so many levels in solidarity with us.
The system seeks to break our spirit through its implementation of policies of oppression, the worst exertion of power through us through their many institutions including the media so it is vital that we are provided the space to build organic unity outside of our communities based on a truth we tell that is experiential.
I have always loved my country and culture but I was forced to accelerate action in pushing for unity in this fight for country as a proud father, fisherman and lover of life and water.
The Menindee fish kill was almost 2 years ago now. One million native fish dead; ancient breeders; the whole entire ecosystems shattered seemingly beyond repair despite all of the restorative work we know mob are doing in this space – how can we come back from that devastation? This bleak reality broke my heart and shattered my spirit in a way that I can only describe as a rude awakening that was a kick up the backside from my ancestors to try do something.
Following this traumatic ecological event, it has invigorated protectors of country new and old to take up this fight and resist any further destruction of the life giver.
I’m writing this as one father, one Mari (Man) and a protector of our ancient sacred cultural heritage because I feel implored to do so by my people, my ancestors.
The use of this platform, to me, is like a digital message stick. Calling for people to see us, hear us and join us. I want to plant seeds, add fuel to stir the souls of others, to inspire others, to break free from the oppressive dictatorships and to truly decolonize our thinking and assert our sovereignty as protectors of this country we reside on.
Historically, and even today in 2020 our voices have been silenced, lost in the scrollable world of socials. We are still misunderstood and often misinterpreted. Our fight for land is not the same as those who hold titles and deeds.
The land owns us.
If the land is in trauma, the mental health and spirit of all of the tribal nations are affected. We are connected to the land through reciprocity – it sustained our ancestors and so we now need to support and sustain it, repair it and save it from any further destruction.
We did not harm the land, but our obligations do not cease simply because colonisers with powerful machines and weapons chose to. Our obligations continue and we must continue to advocate for it, resist against any harm coming to it and use whatever means necessary to unite our nations and call for those outside our communities to join us.
This mission of unification and education brought me back to Gamilaraay Dhawan (land) to co-produce a film that I hope can bring many up to speed of the risks we face to our entire existence. We wanted to give voice to the issue in a meaningful way, we wanted to contribute to the conversation happening in communities that so many outside of the communities may not be aware of. We have featured some strong Gomeroi voices and want to continue the conversation and hear from more because we know that there are many warriors out there doing the work every day and they should have a voice in this struggle.
As we wait to hear the outcome of the legislative council enquiry into the Santos project, we know that the fight for country is far from over so ready yourself for the struggle ahead as we fight to protect country and join other nations throughout this continent to protect theirs.
This was a project co-produced with Zac Rudge from Movement Media
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