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Letter to The Editor - The fact that Aboriginals lived here for tens of thousands of years does not bestow special rights on any Australian living today
To THE AUSTRALIAN If Mark McKenna really wants some truth-telling about Australia (‘Whitefella dreaming’, 17/3), here are a few truths that he ignores or depreciates. There has been no ‘colonial imposition’ of a sequential view of history upon an indigenous Dreaming. European awareness, as exemplified, for example, by Saint Juliana of Norwich, has always included a recognition of the timeless as well as the temporal. Australians of European ancestry in fact know and appreciate a great deal about Aboriginal culture; and the Dreaming is, and will be, continually celebrated as part of the culture and civilization of modern Australia.
This does not mean that the tail should now wag the dog. The fact that Aboriginals lived here for tens of thousands of years does not bestow special rights on any Australian living today, no matter what his ethnic ancestry may be. As for the ‘bedrock of our nation’s identity’, that remains British, as our language, public institutions and majority culture demonstrate beyond doubt. Mc Kenna’s recipe of recognition and republicanism means division, not unity, in a nation that is currently harmonious under Her Majesty’s benign rule.
NJ, Belgrave, Vic