Monday, 4 July 2011
Myself and a couple of friends met up last Tuesday night to help celebrate the opening evening of the Origins Festival, presented by Border Crossings.
We had a great night and heard the voices of first nations people directly - something of a rare treat. We were also introduced to some of the beautifully creative ways that these particular people had found to tell their story. I absolutely loved this as we were exposed to a cross section of indigenous artists from around the world and the mediums they used to tell their stories; dance, theatre, music, photography, film etc.
I then took my mum, for her birthday, to see an oral history spoken by Noel Tovey. He mused over his experience as an aboriginal boy growing up in Australia. His performance and story were both shocking and incredibly inspirational. I then went along to the screening of 'Our Generation' - a fantastic documentary that looks at the problems indigenous people are facing today in Australia. The documentary weaved together the history, the injustices, the perceptions of land from an aboriginal perspective, and the international frameworks that have been set up to protect indigenous people.
It was particularly interesting to understand that for an aboriginal point of view the land owns you; rather than the Western perspective that we own the land. Bridging the gap between these two perceptions would go far in helping governments understand some of the problems their land policies (such as leasing the land in exchange for building houses) bring. Moreover, a comment by a non-indigenous Australian in the audience made me stop for thought, why is it that the majority of 'settler' Australians live in the coastal regions from East to West, while Aboriginal people live further inland and to the North? I thought that this lack of integration may also be tied to the motivations of the first settlers, the fact they believed Australia to be Terra Nullis (land belonging to no one) and exacerbated by the fundamental lack of understanding what 'land' means.