We have what we need to proceed now. Let’s go!

“…See the impact of colonialism has been huge…we Aboriginal people are spiritual people and we are still recovering because of colonialism… There’s not a lot of understanding about that on the part of white Australia because they have this misguided belief that colonialism doesn’t affect them. Of course it does! It’s made them into the people they are today, which means they cannot hear what Aboriginal people are telling them… Many are trying to run away from their own history… As they get older and more mature [chuckles], hopefully they’ll have a better understanding… You see, that mouth of the snake… our people are in pathological grieving. Our people have retreated into the belly of the snake… it’s our consolidation of our Aboriginality, a renewing of our identity. Only recently have we begun emerging from the mouth of the snake with renewal and consolidation of who we are…” Lilla Watson Birri Gubba, Gungulu Elder Brisbane Qld.
• This story tells us about who we are, about conceptualizing ourselves as part of a great renewal and emergence, and about our survival and strength.
• It tells us that we are spiritually free to live according to our own story, agenda and understanding of the world.
• In this story, we are free, and we are sovereign because we choose our own destiny and we live it out. We do it in an innate and instinctive way, regardless of what the white people do or do not do.
• In this story, we are reminded that sometimes in our planning and efforts to help our Peoples, we minimize the spiritual, we minimize the fact that we are not alone, and we forget that there is a broader process of life and creation happening here that we should quiet ourselves and listen to every so often.
• Yes indeed we believe there is hope. We believe there is vision, we believe there is purpose in our culture that translates into today’s political, social and economic environment. We are not alone in this struggle, Ancestors are with us, and all we must do is listen to their wisdom through our stories and quiet time.
• As Aunty Mary Graham says in her paper on the Application of the Oslo Model for Relations between States and Indigenous People “A sovereign people do not plead their cause. They affirm it and they live by it”.

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Lilla Watson
“Until we give back to the black man just a bit of the land that was his, without strings to snatch it back, without anything but complete generosity of spirit in concession for the evil we have done him-until we do that, we will remain what we have always been so far, a people without integrity; not a nation but a community of thieves.” Xavier Herbert

• Other speakers have said:
– “Vincent Lingiari’ said we can wait – Larissa and George said don’t compromise too soon for too little and that gradual change was sensible; he also said the Process was important
– Kev Carmody said there was power and change in the wind
– Bill Jonas said it doen’t have to be one be sovereignty vs state sov
– why not dual sovereignty?
– Michael Mansell said we should not cede sovereignty in a treaty and we agree
– Darren Bloomfield said a treaty must come from the grassroots people, which is all of us here
– David Ervine said we are engaged in a process of looking into a mirror when we engage with our seeming enemies
– Dick Estens reminded us things can change when working together
– Jon Altman said a treaty must be flexible to allow for intergenerational equity/change
– Kerryn Phelps told us where treaties are in place, Indigenous health flourishes
– Lester Rigney reminded us about the power of language
– And Michael Horsbourugh confirmed for us that aat the heart of the matter is whiteaustralia’s insecure and untenable grasp on sovereignty.
The point I am making is we have what we need to proceed now. Let’s go.

The Winds of Change NIYMA’s Paper to the National Treaty Conference Canberra, 29 August, 2002 Speaking Notes

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bev
    Jun 15, 2018 @ 09:04:44

    So heartening to be seeing this, reading this.

    Reply

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