We know they are out there we have all come across them. You know who I am talking about the ones who lets be honest know nothing but hear something and that’s it they are the be all and end all of Culture.
All our mobs had a lot of different beliefs that was because we were in different areas. So of course desert mob are not going to do some things the same as coastal mob. Stands to reason. Yet some people think we all have to be the same and talk over or pull the Elder bullshit.
Let me explain myself yes we have Elders when I was growing up we addressed people as Mr or Mrs. Some people were Aunty or Uncle and others were Nanna and Grandad or similar terms. they were not always related in blood way but they were our Elders. The started the movements for the Medical Centres, Legal Aids and other organisations that help us today. Elders were older and they were respected they didn’t drink or gamble nor did they rip off money from hostels or ADC or other such departments and organisations.
I am old enough that a lot of the Elders I grew up Knowing were still culturally strong. Still tribal or semi tribal as the terms were in such days. A lot of women and men coming off the missions in those days to come down to Brisbane to get an education so they could help their people, those people now are some of our Elders. But the term is over used, anyone it seems can set themselves up as an Elder. We have different Elders groups some get full funding and some get minimal but do a lot. We also have those who are Elders and get paid to do Welcome or acknowledgement of country. Now this is a continuous issue. If we want White Australians to join us in doing this we have to set some guidelines. One Elder charges up to $600 to do a Welcome.
Some see this as fine let them get what they can from the white man some think its fine because its intellectual property rights. Well can I ask whose rights are they?
When I was growing up they didn’t get up and do this welcome to country. I first heard of it out in the Northern Territory. I have watched it slowly creep its way around the country. Now I think its a good thing. But lets not let people charge for it when a lot of Traditional owners do it for free.
Now everyone is Aunty and Uncle and expect to be deferred to when you have no idea who they are and they aren’t all respected Elders, or just Elders some of them are just fools, like the rest of the age groups but they still have to big note themselves.
I see uncomfortable young girls being told by older men, that they are their elder, their uncle and to give them a kiss and a hug. That’s not culture that’s sexual assault.
Aboriginal Cultural Advisors have a lot to answer for because I have seen some people in these positions who know absolutely nothing about Culture or how to engage with Aboriginal people. I have no problem with someone trying to learn their culture. We have victims of Cultural genocide. The stolen generations and those who suffered from the forced removals. But if you grew up white you should not be in a position where you are talking of Aboriginal issues.
The other ones like this are the born again blacks. when I was growing up we had a lot of Polynesian princesses they were the ones who had lighter skin didn’t want to be Aboriginal so they were Tahitian, Hawaiian. We also had the wog brigade they were supposedly Greek or something. then suddenly you see them in uni or in the government jobs and they full of hey sista, long time no see.
Next on my hit list is people who judge us by our shade. they say things about fair skin Aboriginals. Well I have to admit I used to say things as well. I saw that my less black skin was more acceptable than my cousins blacker skin. I noticed some ones when I was studying who were very light and wouldn’t Identify to the other students it was their dirty little secret when they came down to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander unit. So I then started look down on them in distain and think how easy for them to just sit back claim the money and never deal with the real racism. Over the years I met many women and men who changed my opinion and pointed out the ones that I had met made it harder for them. They have to fight the white man to be accepted and they have to fight our own to be accepted.
Now to the CEO’s of Black organisations who squeeze out the other black staff. Why do they do this? Are these other members of the same race a threat to them? But worse when they push out Elders. Let me share a secret with you ACPA has said its resident Elder cannot be Elder in residence as well as being the Elder on the Board. Now the position has always been like that. So what has happened with this? We have young students who used to go and talk about their problems to the Elder, Aunty Flo Watson. They got no one now. How can we do that to our own?