ROBERT EGGINGTON is a Noongar man and executive officer of Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, an advocacy group that aims to keep the culture alive and “tell our story our way”. This Naidoc Week, when the flagship event has been branded with a corporate name as the “Chevron Ball”, and as significant cultural sites are emblazoned with advertising, he warns of increasing commercialisation of Aboriginal culture, and says cultural revolution — not Welcome to Countries — is needed now.
THERE is a dangerous absurdity happening in our country.
Our culture is being promoted by government policies and industrialists.
It is being slowly and cunningly prioritised; to exclusive white entertainment in auditoriums across the world; our traditional dance looks more like modernism ballet than customary cultural laws that gave great credence to the world of our ancestors.
Our once great sacred objects echo out from alien and foreign environments.
The government funds only what they want to take from our precious culture and spirituality and then creates an illusion of “Australiana” taking only what they consider less offensive and profitable; by these means they turn us less empowered and more assimilated!
I have witnessed this with every passing year for the past 40 before this cultural immersion denigrated and cut from our spirit our birthright to the most ancient ceremonial grounds on the earth.
During past NAIDOC weeks we did it without any influence from multinational companies and local shires, for as little as we had at least it was ours and we controlled it no matter how hard!
Self determination is the foundation that we should be leaving as a legacy for our young people and generations to come.
The political idealism of Welcome to Country should be immediately stopped and we as a people should sit down and wongee (speak) about what this really means and who commenced this propaganda, and why?
There are a lot of Aboriginal people across Australia I would believe who would ask the most profound question: Why do we really do such a thing?
Following the atrocities and continued genocide of our people, how can we possibly welcome the killing fields, the Stolen Generations, the citizenship rights and curfews and slavery and all that they have turned us into?
Yes, we are a diverse race in these modern times and there are many of us who are materialistically privileged and affluent however spiritually and culturally bankrupt.
I say it’s not what we have that makes us different, it’s what we have lost that makes us the same!
We need to raise a cultural revolution in unity and solidarity with all the nations across our country and fight for the right to our customary cultural laws and practice on our sacred and significant lands.
We need to take back our cultural rights from those who profit from its sales, and create awareness among ourselves of the danger of what happens when we capitalise on our own dispossession and colonisation and sell it for a blood stained dirty dollar.
This will give our young people, staring at our culture through glass plated windows or in some market place, or upper auditorium and feeling so disconnected from it, a hope that our proper cultural dignity and integrity can fill their spirits with resilience and hope to never give up.
We cannot afford to turn away from the great darkness that has transcended upon our people. We must make our weapons strong with love and compassion for each other before we lose all to the assimilate systems that teach our young from the historical lens that the victors’ deceitful truths are the vanquished lies.
“May our Campfires Burn Forever.”