What is on me mind…..hmmmmm
Having worked within all levels of urban, regional, and remote Aboriginal Affairs for 28 years, since I was aged 16 years old, mainly here in Port Augusta, and often at the grass root level, I have seen and done it all, well most of it anyway, as both worker and sometimes even the clientele.
I know fully that working for and with our Peoples it can become very hard and difficult job at times because it demands long hours, time away from family, no time to visit your ancient lands if you live and work away from it, and a lot of personal stress and heartache for there is often much pain and hurt out there in our community.
Such community work with our people often goes unrewarded or recognised by others, but most of us do not worry about such personal honour or glory – just a simple Thank You often suffices or the silent fruitful and postive outcomes we see and achieve later on in some of our peoples lives.
Some times you will be often knocked flat by the very People You are trying to help, by Your own Family and even white fellas – but never give up, when knocked flat to the ground, pick yourself up from the ground, dust yourself off, and go into the fray again and again.
But do not burn yourself out – always have an outlet and periods of rest and relaxation away from it all and recharge your batteries – for if you cannot look after yourself how can you ever hope to look after others…
I live away from my Ancient Lands and Waters, lucky to be descended from three or more Aboriginal Language Groups so I can claim and visit a few, rather than just one, always say to people ‘Born and Raised in Port Augusta, especially Ummeewarra Reserve when segregation was still the political vogue, But Not My Country.
So I try my hardest to make time to go back to Country – to visit my Ancient Lands, Waters and Family.
I recently made this quote up mainly for my Grandfather’s mob, Adnyamathanha Yura of the Northern Flinders Ranges, but it could also be relevant to others:
Those who lose our Mudha (general traditions) are lost in the thorny wilderness of the Utnyu (corpse, Europeans) and they must return to our Yarta (Lands), take off their shoes so that their bare feet can touch our Yarta so that the Spiritual Engery of our Yarta can once again flow through them and they can be renewed. They must wash their face in the Awi (waters) of our Yarta so that their physical self can also be cleansed.
If you live and work away from your Ancient Lands and Water then simply make similiar connections to the Lands and Waters you may live and work on, or simply sit yourself under an unshaded tree at Sunrise or early morning light, close your eyes, and listen – listen to the wind as it rustles through the leaves and feel it flow through and around you. Listen to the first sounds and calls of the birds as they awake and sing to the dawning of a new day – Let the morning rays of Yundu (the sun) energise you by turning your face upwards towards it with closed eyes – and just be be still and silent.
I do this every morning now and it refreshes and empowers me for the day ahead.
A second but still relevant thought I think….
You know every NAIDOC Day here in Port Augusta I try to always be there with my camera to capture for all time the moments and memories of the day, especially, the Award Ceremony and their Recipiants, but after I take such Award shots I then often look around the crowd for other shots to take, and what do I see?
I see many of our unsung community heros sitting and standing admidst the crowded sea of faces, especially some of our old Elders, many now in their wheel chairs or with their walking canes, who had to fight for our Aboriginal Rights at a time when it was not so politically, socially or legally acceptable to do so.
I see some of our young people sitting or standing nearby some of our Elderly unsung Heroes, and think to myself, little do they know they are nearby some of the Giants of our community – the ones who did the hard yakka and work to ensure we, they, can now sit and stand in this public place to celebrate and march down the streets where we were once not permitted to even walk, let alone march, because they knocked and tore down the physical and invisible political walls that once segregated and oppressed our Peoples.
One day some of us may become like these, our Elders, but we should always feel honoured for we will be joining a long list of many of our unsung genuine respected Aboriginal Heroes and Giants.