A legacy of apathy and dependency
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A legacy of apathy and dependency

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July 29, 2014
 

Yaamagara Nginda. Ngay gayrr Winanga-li Gii

Ngay dhurra-li Gamilaraay walaay gaalanha Mari, nhama miyaymiyaay.

Ngay gaa-gi ngamilma-li winanga-y Gamilaraay ngiyani marama-li yugal, yulu-gi, gaay.

Araay Gamilaraay ngiyani burraa maal. Guwaala-li –dhi galaanha yaraay baayali gamilu bidiwii

Ngalaay nganga ngiyani Gamilaraay Mari binagayaa gaaya wanangi, Guwaa-li walaay winanga-li

dhiriya gamil guwiyaay walaay. –dhi galaanha yaraay baayali gamilu bidi-wii.

Hello, how are you? My name is Winanga-li Gii, which means to listen from the heart.
I come from the Gamilaraay Nation, the land of the Seven Sisters (Australia).

I have been imparting the cultural knowledge of the Gamilaraay Nation through song, dance and storylines for over 35 years.

Within the Gamilaraay Nation, the process that is used to pass on Gamilaraay cultural knowledge is unique in the way that it is carried out. Each process is interconnected and as important as the next, drawing from the overall creation story of DHIRIYA GAMIL and our existence as descendants of Gamilaraay.

Cultural integrity and perpetuity is achieved by all Gamilaraay people who embrace our stories, stories which tell us we can travel freely within our own nation, and by acknowledging the DHIRIYA GAMIL practice of being welcomed into another nation’s lands and within our own clan group areas. This has always been done to ensure the ongoing respect for and connection back to DHIRIYA GAMIL.

Wow, it’s just a few hours after the Australian Federal budget was delivered.

The Abbott government’s 2014-15 federal budget has ripped over 500 million dollars from Indigenous funding nationwide, reducing 150 programs and services to just five. The government’s new ‘Indigenous Advancement Strategy’ will be totally controlled by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. This is the evil and crazy game show they call Australian politics.

We as Aboriginal peoples are already the most marginalized group in this country, what we see happening with this budget is nothing new. Consecutive Australian governments have done the same since federation. Yet this racist Prime Minister feels that he can judge what is in the best interest of our peoples. While he is in power, he will oversee and control us just like the White masters and ‘protectors’ who came before him. But this will not be restricted to slashing Indigenous funding. Coming soon to your community is another 50 million dollars’ worth of new police infrastructure, devoted to creating a permanent police presence in remote Aboriginal communities. If only this was the answer to the political, social and economic problems of this country, oh White master whose poison feet tread on our sacred lands.

I honestly believe that it’s not about how much they take in terms of money. It’s the denial of our basic human rights that concerns me most. It’s about whether I can take my grandchildren onto their ancestral Gamilaraay lands, sacred lands that are being ripped up and desecrated by mining companies. It’s about being able to continue the age old practice of bestowing our knowledge, song, dance and storylines, and maintaining the strict but respectful balance so necessary to our ongoing cultural connection to country.

This leads me to acknowledge a sad legacy that is still being perpetuated today. It’s called APATHY.

Nah, it’s alright, we don’t have to march in the streets and fight,” we say. “It’s been done in the past and nothing has been achieved,” we insist. “The government will provide it for us, all we have to do is comply with what is perceived as ‘normal’ and then we can take our place as Australians like everybody else.”

Dose this mean that we lay the blame on Aboriginal people who choose to conform? No, not at all. But there has to be some kind of ownership of and accountability for this apathy. We must recognize and understand that we have been and continue to be oppressed and controlled by consecutive racist Australian governments since the advent of colonization.

As the filthy dust from Abbott’s budget settles on the black soiled plains of my sacred Gamilaraay homelands, multinational mining companies continue to illegally dig up and desecrate my ancestors’ ceremonial lands. This destruction is occurring on my lands with the corrupt approval of current and past state and federal government ministers, ministers who’ve found themselves under investigation for their unscrupulous dealings with these mining companies. These evil companies, along with Australia’s racist governments, do not care whether my sacred lands are left for my grandchildren or great grandchildren. The slash and burn of the budget and the desecration of my sacred lands only proves to me that all they are interested in is profit and power.

Another sad legacy that is very evident throughout Aboriginal communities is that, from a young age, we are programmed to believe that we cannot do anything ourselves. We are conditioned to believe that we need financial assistance from government. This has been a very successful ploy used by successive governments to co-opt our Black nations and peoples to remain in this welfare state of mind.

We know that the pain and suffering will never end for our people until you join us in the fight. Now is the ideal time for our peoples to all stand up together and be counted. Come along and join us on the streets. It’s never too late.

Governments come and go all the time. You and I must maintain the struggle. My fight is your fight, and it is a just fight.

As a proud member of the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy (BASE), I believe we will continue to pave the way for the future generations to understand that we do not need government assistance. We continue to run programs that benefit our peoples like the BASE Food Program and delivering furniture/clothing to Aboriginal communities. Our Sovereign Grannies group has been set up to provide a support network for Black women and families who are dealing with Australia’s racist welfare and DOCS (Department of Child Safety) system. And Brisbane Blacks is a magazine that helps our peoples understand the real issues that we are facing in our country today.

Let’s keep the fire burning.

ngiyaningu maran yaliwunga ngarra-li
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