Celebrating indigenous cultures

In support of the Australian indigenes’ claim for recognition as First Nation Peoples, and of inter-cultural tolerance in a former racist white nation now seeking to be a full-fledged member of the Family Of Man, I present the view of a writer I respect.

The following was part of an article by Nikki Gemmell in the August 8-9 2015 issue of the ‘Weekend Australian Magazine’ of ‘The Australian’ newspaper.

“ … a champion (football) player does a whisper of a tribal dance after a goal, during National Reconciliation Week, in solidarity with some up-and-coming Aboriginal players he’d just been with. It was graceful, exhilarating, moving cheeky – a celebration of triumphant and playful Aboriginality. He was nodding to his culture, fired up, elated. But a vast swath of Australia couldn’t cope. Still can’t cope. Makes endless excuses about why it can’t cope.

Australia, what exactly are you afraid of? Why is difference so terrifying to you? When Aboriginal people are strong and vocal and empowered, why are so many of us so fearful? We need to learn from our New Zealand neighbours; learn how they celebrate their Maori culture. What we have done to Aboriginal people is a stain upon our nation, and the reality of course is that some people want the indigene ‘problem’ to go away; have wanted it to go away since white man first stepped foot on this soil and declared the land ‘terra nullius.’”

“ … We nurture among us the Earth’s oldest living continuous culture, and we should be damn proud of that. But, of course, some among us don’t like overt displays of Aboriginality, want them disappeared and silenced.”

“ … I’m on the side of tolerance, generosity of spirit, and an attempt to understand and embrace difference.”

(Could an explanation be, not white-man superiority, but a subliminal sense of collective tribal guilt? Alternatively, what is being demonstrated is plain unadulterated ignorance. Can’t do much about that.)