The poetry of Oodgeroo (Kath Walker) brings vivid memories of myself as a school girl reading her poetry; sitting in my white white skin I wandered what it would be like to have that lovely dark coloured skin and imagine the derogatory prejudice that comes with it. Here is one of her poems:

A Song of Hope
by Oodgeroo (Kath Walker)

Look up, my people,
The dawn is breaking
The world is waking
To a bright new day
When none defame us
No restriction tame us
Nor colour shame us
Nor sneer dismay.

Now brood no more
On the years behind you
The hope assigned you
Shall the past replace
When a juster justice
Grown wise and stronger
Points the bone no longer
At a darker race.

So long we waited
Bound and frustrated
Till hat e be hated
And caste deposed
Now light shall guide us
No goal denied us
And all doors open
That long were closed.

See plain the promise
Dark freedom-lover!
Night’s nearly over
And though long the climb
New rights will greet us
New mateship meet us
And joy complete us
In our new Dream Time.

To our fathers’ fathers
The paid, the sorrow;
To our children’s children
the glad tomorrow.

Now I would like to share with you some paintings that bring back memories. I was sitting on the ground in a yard at Katherine with four Aboriginal women and my French friend Christine, trying to learn “dot” painting just by doing it. My first experience of Aboriginal culture.

At Springvale station in Katherine, I saw an early attempt to showcase Aboriginal culture. In the cattle yards by the homestead, one could learn how to throw a spear, blow through a didgeridoo, or watch a corroboree. It was a rather sad experience and a poor reflexion of Aboriginal culture.

Finally this leads me to share this small clip of showcased, as opposed to original, culture. After years in Cairns, we visited the Tjapukai Aboriginal culture centre, which I would recommend to anyone to see and learn about this culture even though it is a second hand experience. This small clip is part of a dance although in different, and choreographed context, with movements which appear similar to the stamp and flourish of the main Wangga dancer in clip 10 of Dr Reid’s videos of Topic 12 of Australian’a Aboriginal languages.

This entry was posted in Arts, Dance, Poetry, Visual Arts. Bookmark the permalink.

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