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We are people of the past, present and future

25 Jan 2019

We offer others a chance to learn from the wisdom we have developed over millennia and the lessons we have suffered through for over two centuries.

Every January, as the 26th approaches and most of the country gears up to celebrate their national Australia day holiday, others set about attempting to bring attention to the façade.

One doesn’t have to dig deep at all to strike the shaky foundations of the Australian heritage house. And as Australia continues to insist on pushing forward without having paid for the costs of its establishment and maintenance, more and more people are choosing to stand by Indigenous people for a place and a future that is wise, inclusive, just and sustainable.

As divisions about Australia’s integrity deepen and widen dialogue often focuses on social race relations between groups, somehow managing to turn the obvious devastating impacts of the colonisation and continuing oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into a “debatable” topic.

This in itself is a clear exercise of the power and privilege afforded to those who think there is freedom for interpretation regarding our struggles to survive.

And there is an incredible irony to the sentiments that are exhibited during this time, as non-Indigenous people attempt to assert and celebrate their belonging to a Land they barely seem to understand, a Land whose native languages they cannot speak, a Land they cannot successfully conquer or manage sustainably into the future.

And that is it, my liberation and your liberation are indeed bound to each other, but both of ours are bound to Country’s as well.

An Aboriginal activists group from Queensland in the 1970s once said, ‘If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let’s work together.’

This message remains more relevant than ever and whilst being rendered powerless and being powerful are two very different positions, both nevertheless need to work towards a middle ground whereby the powerful step down and the collective powerless rises.

None of us should possess the type of power that can be wielded to abuse Country, the type of power that creates insatiable vortex pits inside of us, the type of power that is susceptible to greed and corruption, the type of power that fools us into thinking we are ultimately more powerful than the Land and the Natural law.

And that is it, my liberation and your liberation are indeed bound to each other, but both of ours are bound to Country’s as well. Because until Country is free, safe and sustainable, we will not know freedom, safety and sustainability. Nor will our grandchildren.

When we centre the Land, it is undeniable that colonisation is ongoing. Aboriginal people have still to be treatied with in regards to their unceded Sovereignties. Hard – fought for rights to Country through various legal schemes continue to be rendered vulnerable to the colonial courts’ judgement and arbitration.

We offer others a chance to learn from the wisdom we have developed over millennia and the lessons we have suffered through for over two centuries.

These rights are susceptible to manipulation and abuse according to the corporate interests and political rhetoric and agenda of the day.

Australia has an “exceptionally dire [species] extinction rate – which for mammals is the highest in the world” (John Woinarski, CDU) and the clearing of native vegetation in NSW has risen 800% in just 3 years (2014 – 2016 Native vegetation report card).

We have had to reckon with major ecological losses due to Australian approved extraction industries and development projects that destabilise and pollute our ecosystems and disrespect each distinctive socio – ecological community’s right to survive and thrive.

Aboriginal people have been on the frontlines of colonisation and so – called western development since the 1788 invasion on January 26th. These frontlines extend from our bodies to the bodies of the Lands, the trees and the waters, they also include our languages.

When we say we have been on the frontlines we don’t just mean on the early colonial front but also of what has become a modern trajectory of western development led by a toxic Australian ideology that refuses to hold itself to account for its violence against the Land and Indigenous Peoples.

We are people of the past, the present and the future.

What we have to offer to people in this Country is a chance to deeply connect with 60, 000+ year old natural jurisprudential traditions and cultures that have sustained us and led us to being the most resilient civilisations on Earth.

We offer others a chance to learn from the wisdom we have developed over millennia and the lessons we have suffered through for over two centuries.

And we have every reason to be bitter, cynical and divorce ourselves from this mess but still, we offer people a place and a role through justice and living our solutions, because we owe our allegiance to Country first.

Can the rest of Australia in all its patriotism stand against us and really say the same?

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