I’ve always felt a persistent discomfort with Australia’s perception of its own culture and national identity.
The dominant narrative in Australia uses phrases such as reconciliation, self-determination and “closing the gap”. Underlying these phrases though, is the hangover of the White Australia Policy and the 1905 Aborigines Act which still assumed that “they” Australia’s Aboriginal people need to fit in with white colonisers, or “us”.
Given how much colonisation has changed Australia, and that Aboriginal people make up a smaller proportion of the population (although, this is likely to be higher than what the ABS says) this is often presented as the ‘easier’ way.
But if this was ‘easy’ then wouldn’t we have a ‘solution’ by now?
[There is so much I could say on perceived problems and solutions in this space, but that calls for another blog post].
There is not a clear way forward right now. And the reason for this is because until recently, Aboriginal people have not been included the conversation.
But here is the thing - I NEED this connection to community, to country and to land as much as anyone else in this country does.
Because when I am on land, in nature, I feel most like myself.
And when I know where I’m from and where I belong, I also know where I’m going.
Many Australians are experiencing a crisis of connection which I believe, stems from a shallow culture where casual racism is accepted as #goodbanter and an extremely uncomfortable relationship with our history.
And until we go there, as a country, we will continue to see the effects of this in our suicide, violence and mental health statistics.
In 10 years, WA will be “celebrating” 200 years since this land was “discovered”.
And there’s a lot to become and change and do so that we can create a national identity and celebration which includes ALL Australians.
This won’t be easy. It will require us to let go, and give up much of what we have been taught in school, and led to believe is true.
But what my heart is really excited about is the invitation we have to embrace the spirit of this land and culture. To reconnect. To revolutionise relationships, and create a new framework for BEING HUMAN which ebbs and flows with the seasons, which is not static but has a deep understanding that we are all connected. Not just to each other, but to every bloody thing which exists around us.
I’m writing this not only because it is close to my heart, but because it is important for all of us.
We can’t turn the clocks backwards. But we have a choice to take responsibility for our own individual role in this, to accept the privileges we have and to take a stand against racist comments and vilification.
Those who know me personally know not to talk about certain things unless they want to be challenged on them.
So my challenge to you is to sit in the discomfort, and invite others to sit there too. Not from a place of superiority and better than, but simple to sit and allow to come what hasn’t been acknowledged or felt.
Lilla Watson put it well when she said:
If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
Shame, pain, grief and anger are all part of the human experience. And part of my mission is to create a space where these are not only acknowledged, but free to be expressed. Because being conscious and #woke is not just about doing yoga, eating vegan + calling racist people out, but educating ourselves about systemic racism, prejudice and taking responsibility for where we unconsciously perpetuate this.
Soon I’ll be putting together a list of references for websites, books, podcasts, documentaries and other media for those who are interested in raising their consciousness around these issues, so sign up to my mailing list to be the first to see it.