Identity is making its rounds again. It always happens around summer. Lots of parties and people always asking about just how Aboriginal you are and then if that’s not enough, its then followed on by Australia Day. Where Identity comes out again.
Steven Oliver summed it up in a proper deadly way, but for some unknown reason I can’t get the link to work to show you (the usual excuse…Whitefulla majic)
I hope the links work.
But as an Aboriginal woman I get asked things stupid things. Over the years I have been told but your half white. My response is which half of me are you going to take? You speak to well, you went to a good school, you have a good job, you’re not really one of those proper Aborigines!
Well let me tell you that Identity doesn’t come with the colour of your skin, it comes from what is within. My mother taught me the Rainbow serpent represents all of us, our different colours. I grew up being a yellow fellow, or yella fella.
I had to justify to ignorant people as to why I am a proud Aboriginal woman, a Wakka Wakka . I am also a very proud Irish woman. (The Irish are the Blacks of Europe, after all.) Do I see this as a contradiction? No, again, my mother taught me love sees no colour. I am proud and strong in my Identity, I can speak language, I can find bush tucker I can hunt and yes I have a White education, that is just as important as the stories told to me of the Dreamtime. The stories told of how my family was split up, and how members found each other again. I am a very proud Aboriginal woman and my skin colour isn’t an issue.
My accent becomes an issue and my education. But that just shows the ignorance of those who question Aboriginality. I have known and respected some incredibly wonderful Aboriginal people who are of lighter shade than me. But their Identity is strong, and they don’t question where they come from. They know deep down to their very souls what they are. I have also come across people with dark skin who deny their identity, we call them coconuts, some call the Oreo’s. Black on the outside but white in the middle.
Just because we live in an urban environment doesn’t make us any less Aboriginal. We have our own thriving urban Indigenous culture that helps to keep alive the stories of our ancestors.
So anyone with Identity issues, no matter what you are, Maori, Native American, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, South Sea Islander. BE STRONG. Your identity is within you, it’s not something that can be forced on you, or explained to those who do not want to hear. YOU ARE YOU.