Monthly Archives: March 2018

First People’s

 

The years have seen me walk this continent, sitting alongside the local peoples of those landscapes. I have travelled much, yet there is still so much to experience, so much to learn. With each year of my life I have experienced what it is to be Aboriginal in varying ways. See the word “Aboriginal or Aboriginine” was what I knew my mother was, she was identified as half cast and therefore me and my younger brother were quarte cast. In the early years of my life, I was proud of this. The terminology was normal and that’s what I knew myself to be through the eyes of society in Southern regions of Australia. Beyond that I was Rachel, a little cheeky thinker who watched everything and had many unanswered questions. A little tacker who wondered how things came to be the way they were and recognised that adults did not have all the answers!

Fortunately, not only did I have exposure to countryman from the many countries throughout Australia, I also grew up knowing who my family were. My mothers mother, her children, my great Aunties and Uncles who were her brothers and sisters. I had a word “Aboriginal” but I had a connection to land, people and place. I heard songs, saw family dynamics and felt country. So the word itself was not what fuelled my identifying with where my bloodlines arose from, it was the interactions that built warmth of knowing and contributed to my sense of heritage. So many seeds were ignited within me in mingling amongst family and other countryman. So much was placed in safe places for when I would be able to hold those awareness with respect and care.

In walking among countries where practises of culture were almost intact, I experienced with deeper eyes. The word “Aboriginal” was not at the forefront. These people knew their Country, knew their Lore. I walked with them in this LORE. I learnt to walk outside of being a quarte cast Aborigine the daughter of a child of the stolen generation. The timing was perfect, I was becoming a teenager and moved out of home to live with elders and all the children they were caretakers for. I walked with those old people through stories and in the Dreaming of their songlines. At times I would walk with the old people out bush and we never spoke, they used subtle gestures to indicate of something to pay attention to. Always teaching always learning, yet unspoken. I don’t remember any of us calling ourselves “Aboriginal or Indigenous” when we were together, we were Bama Murries, living amongst the rainforest. We spoke in both English and Djapukai language, we weren’t Aborigines!

My brother was adopted in by one family and I was adopted in by another, but we were all connected. It was a warm time and very valuable. Sometimes I cry when I write (like right now) as those moments and those old people were so rich, they have long passed from this life now, yet the teachings and passing on of knowing remains strong within. I guess it’s the kinda feeling many experience when with nature, those old people were true and gentle with their ways. They did not force anything, yet they could see very clearly, see right through you and into your heart. They knew, but would never say unless you were going to really hurt something without just cause.

None of us were Aboriginal, none of us were Indigenous, and no one was white either! We were all people with different insights and contributions, that’s the warmth that those old people brought to my spirit, a greater lore of being.

 

Today a brother had a post stating “isn’t it time to stop saying Aboriginal and say Original”. This post stirred many responses and reactions and hence I write. The question always comes up for me when Im invited in a cultural context to share, especially in schools. I am asked if I would prefer to be acknowledged as Aboriginal or Indigenous. The aim is not to offend me, but in truth for myself, I’m not offended as I don’t have a reaction to either, thats not where I am at with all that. My response to the question in that arena is this “Simple, state the facts – I am a descendant of the first people of this land” So that is how I am introduced as well as the teacher trying to pronounce my Grandmothers country name. hehe

This is my statement to all, I have travelled and travelled and yes, there are those who are very offended by the word “Aboriginal or Aborigine” and there are those who are very offended by the word “Indigenous” but one thing all agree on, we are descendants of the FIRST PEOPLE.

 

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First and foremost we acknowledge and pay our respects to the first people of the many cultures and lands now commonly recognised as Australia. We pay our respects and acknowledge the living breathing spirit of the first peoples. The Ancestors and Dreaming that still to this very moment, informs the descendants of the first peoples. We are a living people. We still walk among our Dreaming tracks, albeit those paths and song lines have had other realities superimposed upon them.

It’s our DNA and our SPIRIT that remains true to LORE. As we heal our Ancestry It’s our heart and mind that follow through and ignite the knowing that we are the First People that hold within us keys that have been shaped over thousands upon thousands of years!

When we arrive to the proper way again – the true nature of our being and what has been passed down from our Ancestors (not the trauma) we walk with the authority of knowing that we are the first – we are sacred, as is the Land and all of life!

This key opens doors of truth based on a reality beyond the playground of politics and manmade agendas. Although we interact with that dimension/paradigm our intelligence far outweighs that game….

The greater LORE of which we as a people who are as individuals freeing themselves towards again (from within), is the LORE that will ultimately balance the scales. The first peoples walked in accordance with this and the balance was kept.

We are the balance when we remember this and walk proper way with this. We are the First People. I am a descendant of the first peoples as well as many other bloods from around the Earth, and my freedom has come from balancing the scales within, facing my Ancestors, healing the timelines and witnessing the game for what it is!

I’m aware of what I’m made of, many are seeking and debating and missing the opportunity. So again, I acknowledge the first people of the many cultures (for there are many) of the many Lands (for there are many) now commonly known as Australia!

 

Rachel Shields 

Knowing In Nature  (C) 2018