Sharing Aboriginal Voices

Sharing Aboriginal Voices is the place on Packing for the Journey for me to share stories of our country’s past and current history from an Aboriginal points of view.    

Between 2009 and 2015 I worked at Bubup Wilam for Early Learning Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, a self-determining  Aboriginal Community, in the outer northern Melbourne suburb of Thomastown.

During that time,  as a non-Aboriginal early childhood educator, my beliefs, and ways of being, my knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal history and culture, my educational philosophy and ways of teaching, were challenged. Since then I have never stopped  rethinking, revisiting, and searching for ways, as a non-Aboriginal woman, to hear Aboriginal stories and to walk in step with Aboriginal people.

Following the recent announcement by the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, that the Federal government had Allocated $50 million of taxpayer money on a new monument celebrating Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia, I wrote this response.

“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that such incidents (throwing paint on statues of CC) are part of “a deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign to not just challenge our history but to deny it and obliterate it”. Is he serious?

Spending $50 million on a ‘Captain Cook Memorial is a “deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign” in the hands of the incumbent government which is setting, and has set the history agenda for over 230 years.

That $50m would go a long way towards ‘memorials’ to teach all Australians the history of our land in the years prior to, and since 1788. This history is being written, painted, danced and sung, by Aboriginal people, who are still living with the effects of colonisation – telling how First Nations people lived here for 60,000 years, and have survived the consequences of invasion, destruction of the environment, massacres, and the terrible effect on whole families and clans, of the stolen generations.

This government is setting its agenda for a culture war. That agenda must be challenged

                         

Janet McLean 

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