Today I had the privilege of speaking to 400+ year 8, 9 and 10 students about the work I do with the charity. I also spoke about what it’s like to be an Indigenous person in today’s world and how the stolen generation still has a huge ripple effect on people today.
Our First Nations people were wonderful story tellers and passed down 65,000 years of traditions, culture, history and lore around campfires, on long treks and on river banks to make sure new generations learned the ways of the land and the stories of the Dreamtime. 65,000 years, and then one day the stories were taken away.
I didn’t grow up with the stories. I didn’t hear tales how the land was created or of how the rainbow serpent travelled from one watering hole to another across the land, or how the great God Byamee disguised himself as a wombat to find the most kind hearted animal, a Mama kangaroo, and rewarded her with a pouch to keep her baby safe.
So many stories that should have been told, passed from one generation to the next. Stories of the land, the creation of the rocks and the mountains, the creation of the animals and of our ancestors from which our blood comes. Stories of the Dreamtime.
Laws that were passed when my Grandfather was just a young boy ensured that if he told these stories to his future children his children would be removed from him and never be returned.
For many Aboriginal people, that was the end of the stories. To tell them would mean more generations lost. So the stories were hidden, packed away with the shame of being black. Shame of being who you are.
We must make sure the stories return now, and are told to the children with the same richness and colour as our ancestors told them. We must bring back the 65,000 years of story telling and history now, before it is lost forever.
Always was always will be, Aboriginal land.