Yamatji First Nation members gathered in front of Geraldton police station on September 18 to vent their outrage and grief over the death of 29-year-old sister Joyce Clark, who was shot dead the night before by a police officer on the outskirts of the town.
As a kid, the way I was taught about Indigenous people was terrible. For one thing, the understanding of the Indigenous economy and technology was non-existent.
I had this picture of people living in homes basically made of a bit of bark and maybe grass and sticks leaned up against a tree trunk. The impression was they spent their time wandering around and occasionally spearing a kangaroo or goanna for dinner.
Over the years I picked up bits and pieces of a more realistic and less insulting picture of Indigenous life, but it wasn’t really until I read Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe that it all fell into place such that I can maybe imagine in some detail how people lived.
I was privileged to be invited to observe a National Gathering of First Nations peoples on November 4–5 at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.
Representatives from many different clan groups from a large number of First Nations across the continent attended. It was a direct response to the events at Uluru earlier in the year, with regard to Constitutional Recognition. Its initial purpose being to discuss the formalisation of a process of recognition of each tribe’s sovereignty.
There’s always a verse, hook, or rhyme that listeners hear and say – whoa, I wasn’t expecting that. But, regardless of its effect, we find ourselves singing along to it.