Question: What is the one most important idea or experience that you have discovered in the writings of indigenous authors (other than Kim Scott) or in the writings of authors about the indigenous experience.
We’ve all heard that particular famous quote in movies, tv shows, books and even titles of various websites/blogposts , but when it comes to living a life full or horrors & bad experiences… many of us can’t relate to the quote itself. As every student learns history throughout their school life, we not only study, but also witness the horrors that aboriginal people faced during the colonisation era, where innocent victims were subjected to serious consequences as they were disadvantaged in their own land. This is also known as the Assimilation period.
The assimilation period was highlighted in Oodgeroo Noonuccal/ Kath Walker’s “Speech Launching the Petition of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement”. The speech talks about the disadvantaged Aboriginal people who have been unable to become as ‘civilised’ as the British settlers. The author talks about herself being ‘lucky’ to have been able to become “one of them” while those who were not as fortunate enough to have been able to become ‘civilised’ were “forced to live like scavengers on the rubbish dumps of the white race.” The speech justifies the disadvantages that the Aboriginals were facing as they were undermined by the powers of the White man.
Along with being undermined by a ‘superior power’, a mother’s worst nightmare is having to go through the death of their young child. Eliza Dunlop has written about these particular horrors, her poem “The Aboriginal Mother (from Myall’s Creek)” explores the nurturing and loving atmosphere this mother is giving to her child before she witnessed the murder of her innocent child. Through the use of dramatic monologue, the poem was published in a form of a protest, during the time of an intense debate to whether white Stockman should be punished for brutal murders in the Myall Creek Massacre in 1838. The poem visualises the mental torture as the mother realises that her child is gone, later resulting in the white men, abusing their so called ‘power’ as one of them “brings my slaughtered boy”. Under no circumstances should any individual have to have their life cut short all because some people think its easier to wipe an entire race out instead of attempting to be civilised with the other.
History itself can be dark, however the experiences of going through the horrors, allows us who are studying the history of our own particular nation, to visualise the horrors people go through, giving us a deeper understanding into how the world is the way it is today.