HOW'S THAT? We're all across temporary salutes to indigenous Australia, but where are the permanent dedications on any grand scale?
HOW'S THAT? We're all across temporary salutes to indigenous Australia, but where are the permanent dedications on any grand scale? kokkai

OUR SAY: Where the bloody hell is their culture?

IT'S NOT a song generally associated with indigenous Australians, but ironically, it was an annoying tune written by a bunch of white Brits that sprang to mind while reviewing the content of this Deadly edition.

Chumbawamba's Tubthumping was a massive hit here in Oz, its opening catchphrase "I get knocked down, but I get up again/You are never gonna keep me down” was shouted by thousands of drunken Aussies in pubs for far too long in the late 90s.

The band was trying to capture the ordinary working class resilience of their world but the sentiment is just as applicable to people oppressed due to their race.

And Indigenous Australians have been knocked down more times than we will ever fully acknowledge.

From the First Fleet to our White Australia Policy, stolen lands and a Stolen Generation, the government's snubbing of the Uluru Statement to the lack of a land treaty or indigenous voice in our national parliament today. Then add a multitude of other sins. The treatment dished up to Aboriginal Australia would test the mettle of any group of people let alone the oldest living culture on the planet.

But, they get up again, which is why they can claim that title.

We all know there are thousands of stories out there, but more often than not, we are reluctant to investigate in any great detail or talk about in our general conversations in this country, and this Valley of ours.

From the hoo-ha of Rocky Laurie Drive in Yamba, which was shunted from its original route past the well-heeled ocean-front Pacific Palisades downgraded to a turn-off nobody takes unless you are a resident of Ngaru Village.

Turn left for first class, right for economy indeed.

We should all know the Coutts Crossing story by now, given the outrage white people felt about changing the village name from a murderer's to something more savoury. Indigenous people felt it too on the flipside but again, their outrage always falls on deaf white ears.

Nationally we can't even commit to the indigenous flag having permanent residence on an iconic bridge the world sees. So why the reluctance to foster their presence nationally and at community level given they are the world's oldest surviving culture?

Any marketing guru worth their salt would have to ask where the bloody hell is our National Indigenous Arts Centre or museum or memorial to its people that tells the world's travellers we have something ancient down here in this "young and free” country of ours.

Perhaps the dysfunction that still exists today is too shameful to trumpet the good stuff too loudly, our unrequited history and the role we played in that is still far too evident for our Fair Go mantra.

Having a platform to showcase a proud and ancient nation to the world is the least we can do in the empowerment process and returning the respect stripped away intergenerationally.

Prized indigenous artworks are held by government galleries and institutions, watered down by a bevy of European and colonial content. Is this the best place for it?

Enough of the conditional platitudes we keep extending to indigenous Australia while we pat each other's back.

The dumbing down of a people who know more about the land we stand on than we will ever know is our greatest travesty as we continue to solider on blindly towards a changing climate, segregated communities and a country that still struggles with its identity.

If you have a go, you get a go.

Indigenous Australians may beg to differ.



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