St Margaret's News June 2017 - Page 7

Celebrate Of course, taking on a trade or profession didn’t require aboriginals to ‘escape’ their origins. I remember clearly, the curly haired nurse, whom I saw regularly when my sister was hospitalised, and who performed with my mother in the town’s musical production. My young teacher’s aide, along with other aboriginals, went on to become a teacher. The real ‘poison’ is vulnerability, caused ostensibly by numbers. Often this means discrimination. It hurts. It was no fun for me being danced around and called ‘snowflake’. Ironically I wasn’t aware that the ratio difference could only be taken advantage of on a base level – the level on which children exist – and such behaviour was probably rooted in the open bigotry of some of the white community. Now I’m living in Canberra, Michael Mansel has been at the head of quite a public stir lately. I’m only eighteen, and at the risk of sounding selfish – I hate the distortion of my childhood memories. In one, dust, blood and sweat figure prominently. Little Gladys pulled out my wobbly tooth with all the vigour that epitomised her many ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. I know that ‘we’ were once just as close to the land – closer to the core of our existence; but time has been a sterilizing process. This isn’t bad – though I hope time doesn’t pull ‘them’ completely from their origins. Most of all, I’d like ‘them’ and ‘we’ to become ‘us’. I remember the wide, flat plains of inner New South Wales; waking up to find a kangaroo in the backyard; bushwalks, and the inevitable ‘bindi-eyes’; the helicopter bringing us food during the flood. I remember visiting friends on properties; and my friends in town; - the frogs that came out by the millions when everything was still and quiet – apart from their relentless croaking. And I remember the broad main street, walled by old buildings – remnants of days past; and the aborigines with the remnants of their early culture. It would be silly and idealistic to wish the ‘dreamtime’ back for them, and what they don’t need is pity. If I could capture and bottle their essence, that is what I would give. We don’t hear much from those who have completely integrated, but my memories lead me to believe that what the activists are most afraid of is losing themselves. Must living as one, necessitate the complete submergence of two such opposing cultures? I remember my sixth birthday party. Laughter, games… The total unit and acceptance between our two races was more than enough to celebrate. - S. Kelly St Margaret's News 7 June 2017