Boonwurrung’s Blog

Australia Aborigine Commentary

Why Welcome to Country? Should Acknowledge

Posted by boonwurrung on December 26, 2011

Since the year 2,000 a ceremony has crept into mainstream practice, which is promoted as a traditional Aboriginal ceremony.  The ‘Welcome To Country’.  Australian governments at all levels now perform this ceremony daily.  Selected indigenous people are chosen and paid to perform such a ceremony, and the going rate is $250, to $3,500 per performance.  (Paid to say certain words – don’t say – don’t get paid).  When these performances are for theatrical entertainment, I too enjoy performance and entertainment, and expect Australian Indigenous performers to be paid for their services.

Being a traditional owner who was born on, and has only ever lived on country, I have often been asked to perform a welcome to country.  Which I politely decline, and refuse to do.  In place I will offer an acknowledgement to country and (I never take payment – free to speak), and I explain why… Hi everyone I am Lance Briggs of the Kulin – A Boonwurrung man, born Yalukit Willam.  I am from what is known as the traditional owner family of country. I acknowledge and accept your presence here today.  For a moment, please indulge me, I have a difficult task – I dearly want to welcome you to my world, and I seek your understanding in why I cannot do that without you knowing me. I do not do ‘welcomes’, my elders, and ancestors did not welcome the settlers of this country, nor do I.  There is one recorded ceremony in the 1800’s which people use as a proof of a welcome, indeed a political protocol of the time.  I do not do this as a political statement – it is spiritually inappropriate for me a Kulin person to welcome many of you here today, and I will explain why a little later.  But understand the land now, people who live here do not have access to, the waters are polluted, the air is polluted, the flora and fauna nearly all gone, with something like 60% degradation, and revegetated with foreign fauna, the country feels different. Being Kulin, Boonwurrung, aboriginal, indigenous – is to be born of the land.  Here today I acknowledge this is the Land of time, of Bunjil, Land of the Kulin, the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung, and acknowledge my ancestors.  I acknowledge all Kulin here today and all people born of greater Melbourne.  Living spiritually I acknowledge the presence of all my kinship ancestors, for they live spiritually.  Traditionally the past, the present and the future, are all here with us today, through country – kinship. Imagine this land before non indigenous settlement, try and imagine the land as it was, have a close look at the native vegetation, close your eyes if you have too, NO FENCES can you really imagine that, I challenge you to try and imagine the mind set of no fences, no paths – not one unnatural barrier, being able to travel in any direction at any time. Imagine the economic system where everyone had equal ownership and access to all resources with onus and obligation.  An ideal economy where there is non-depletion of resources and no pollution.  A perpetual economy.  In fact you belonged to the land (the economic system) you were part of this world.  You lived with the country and all that is in it as you are related to it.  Country that provides all needs every day, which it still is able to do today.  It just has 4.5 million people, and the metropolis that is Melbourne on the same dreamtime country. Being Kulin, Boonwurrung means I am spiritually connected to my country, and all that is in it.  It is my birth right.  Any person born in greater Melbourne has the ability to obtain a spiritual connection and the birth right of being born on country.   It would be very arrogant of me, I suggest even blasphemous, to welcome other people born here to what is already spiritually theirs.  Of those who live in greater Melbourne, how many of you have developed your own indigenous perspective of country.  Do you try to truly belong. I feel we should have something in common – I want those I meet to connect with country. I live and teach my family to live as we have always lived.  To be self-sufficient.  To be free to be Boonwurrung. I have not taken up non-Boonwurrung beliefs.  My ancestors encouraged us to continue to holistically understand our world and all that is in it, strongly encouraging us to get off the protection stations, and stay off the missions, to not develop a mission mentality, a hand out mentality.   With the exception of myself, my family, and our businesses – everything indigenous in this state is owned by Government or funded within strict Government guidelines.    I do not own anything nor do I need to, as I own everything. I like to be known as Boonwurrung, or Kulin, or Yalukit Willam, NOT just as indigenous.  For Indigenous includes those indigenous settlers who have taken up and copied the Australian settler way of life, and emigrated to Melbourne and are so well recognised and accepted  by all Australians.

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Indigenous – Terra Nulius lives with government usage

Posted by boonwurrung on September 7, 2009

Indigenous Australians

Indigenous people – that new race (perhaps category) of people, created, funded and structured by Australian governments and stakeholders, as prior to 1788 we had Boonwurrung, Yorta Yorta, Arente, Yolgnu, Ginibi etc etc. All the nations, so why don’t so many people understand the differences after all – Australia as a land mass equates to the size of Europe, if not larger.  What is the direct cost of Australians for this – I would suggest at least 7 billion dollars each and every year.  For all the success we have in Indigenous affairs today.

The Australian Governments’ new preferred term for Aboriginal Australians.  How we have been described in legistlation over the years – savages – natives – aborigines – Aborigines – aboriginals – Aboriginals – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders which was shortened to ATSI.  Now in Australian legistlation – and Australian Governments’ policies and strategies they use the term Indigenous.  Many people say why is it important – I agree with them, but just try and get any Australian Government department to stop using a generic name for us and to use a specific name, and they show you how important it is in their steadfast refusal to use anything other than their political terminology of the day. 

I love tribal Australian Aboriginal people for thier unique perspective, their wisdom, and their knowledge of and connection with country. Their spiritual connection with their country, their holistic view of their world including their economic system and their community minded social systems which care for aged care, child care, policing and legal systems that include the use of payback to/ for the victim.  All systems developed and constructed without the use of dollars.  I was born on, I live on and I work on country.  For me to leave is such an alien concept that I would not do so, it is such a settler concept and that I understand as I am surrounded by so many settlers both indigenous and non indigenous.

The perpetuation of ‘Terra Nullius’ – The current Australian Governments’ legislation that defines us as Indigenous c0ntinues to perpetuate the denied of identity of the various tribes and nations that make up what is now Australia.  With events like World Indigenous Peoples Day, and the various International Indigenous Conferences held around the world, highlights the one country that consistently and perpetually denies identity to it’s original inhabitants.  Every other country uses an indigenous word to describe their aboriginal population – e.g Maori – Inuit – Sascatchuan – Cheyenne – Sioux – Gaul – Every country except Australia.

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Traditional economics – Pure – Perfect

Posted by boonwurrung on September 7, 2009

Economic systems of the traditional Australian Aboriginal tribes are that of the hunter gatherer model.   To me the wisdoms and concepts set down by traditions all those years/ generations/ and elders ago – are relevant and necessary for Australian longevity today.

Imagine an economic system that has no fences, no unnatural boundaries.  Everyone, every legal citizen, has the right to country, to access all of their country, and all of the resources within – with onus, obligation and respect – for them, for others and for country itself.   The non-depletion of resources, and perpetual self sufficiency.  No shortage of water, no pollution.  An economic system design to last forever.

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Hello world!

Posted by boonwurrung on January 12, 2009

My first post and not savvy with this media

Cautious of the written word, as my culture is steeped in wisdom.  The wisdom of communication, the wisdom of time, the wisdom to allow.

Don’t ever quote anyone else, own all your words.

Take the time to listen. Listen without question.  Take the time to know the person talking, and you will understand, and not need to question.  Communicate on fact and certainty of thought.

The written word is taken out of context, misquoted, inappropriately cited, and often misunderstood from outside the originator’s frame of reference, and understanding.

So with this apprehension I begin.

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