“In my Government’s new paradigm, we hereby make this solemn oath: We will stop telling you what to do and we will start asking you what you want and need to address your social problems and restore peace, health and harmony in your communities, as they were before Australian governments nearly destroyed your cultural structures entirely and wiped out your skillfully managed diversity of bush foods and medicines virtually everywhere by land clearing.
We will listen carefully, and then we will facilitate whatever you say is required to achieve this, be it supplying remote communities with the latest renewable energy technologies, practical earth-building programs or anything else at all to help with the reconstruction effort.
There will be no more demeaning ‘welfare’ payments to Aboriginal people who wish to reclaim their inheritance and restore their cultures, contemporaneously or traditionally.
There will now be unconditional funding of each and every person (including non-Indigenous) in any way involved in cultural restoration in recognition that this would involve a comparatively minuscule amount of government funds.
If you wish to re-establish your inter-connected grid of Songlines and migration trails (mostly still existing within the stock route system which usurped them) that can easily be arranged by according them the same legal status as the stock routes, that is, free access to walkers and riders. If it’s good enough for cattle, surely it is good enough for the nation’s First People!
If you want to prioritise teaching your children their own languages over English, that too can be arranged through school curricula.
In fact, as long as you dont break any laws, you do whatever you need to do to keep the priceless legacy of humanity’s longest continual scientific and metaphysical knowledge streams safe and enduring into the future.
Needless to say, all your most precious and sacred cultural places will immediately come under legal protection from harm, beginning with the Worimi’s iconic Bula Dilla, currently under threat of complete desecration by unnecessary development.
Keep in touch… and let me know if you would like me to sign a treaty to legitimise our pledge.
I hope your new year really does bring a bran nue dae for your long-suffering peoples.”
- How does this letter compare with the perception most people have of Aboriginal people?
- Which contemporary problems can you find in the text?
- What would happen if the Australian government did everything that this letter promises?
Video: First Aboriginal Prime-Minister of Australia
Watch Bulupin Kwobinyarn deliver his acceptance speech on the day of his election as Australia’s first Aboriginal Prime Minister.
Actors: Isaac Drandich, Melodie Reynolds, with Mia Stanford, Cy Fahey. From: Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Theatre: ‘A Black Sheep Walks into a Baa…’ (2009) Directed by: Rachael Maza.