Our Sacred Land? By Viv Forbes
My wife and I were both born in Australia, as were two children and four grandchildren. Our parents were born in Australia as were all of their parents. And some ancestors go back much further in this land. I feel rage every time I have to sit through another patronising “welcome to country” charade, designed to make me feel an intruder in my own land. Indigenous history on this continent is the same as our family story – it just goes back a bit further. The first aboriginals probably walked here over a land bridge and Europeans came later in sailing clippers. All caused displacement of prior inhabitants. They brought dingos which are now “protected” – we brought cattle, sheep, horses and ploughs which are increasingly condemned. They mined ochre, quartzite and basalt, which are now heritage sites – but our coal mines are widely condemned. They brought spears and boomerangs – we brought guns and swords. Racial referenda, indigenous “Welcomes”, talk of Treaties and special land rights for some Australians just create and maintain division. How long before we are one people with the same rights and responsibilities? Two centuries is surely time enough?