Close your eyes and imagine you’re sitting in your home.
You’re minding your own business and just enjoying your place. A place you’ve looked after for a long time.
Someone comes in. They don’t knock, they just roll through the front door, look around and say “I’m just going to change this”. Maybe they pull out some of the plants in your garden, they trash your living room, eat all of your food.
You’d be livid! And rightly so, of course you would.
When you try to talk or fight back, they attack you with weapons and overpower you,. Then they tell your children that you weren’t living the right way. They take them away from you.
And then, every year on that day, they throw a huge party at your place, to celebrate their achievement.
How would that make you feel?
It’s ridiculous right? That would never happen. We couldn’t as humans, as neighbours, as brothers and sisters, possibly let that happen to someone… could we?
You see as I record this episode, we are coming up to Jan 26th here in Australia. Most of my listeners will know what that day means, but for anyone overseas, Jan 26th is ‘Australia Day’
Australia Day is the day where we celebrate the colonisation of this country.
The day when the first fleet landed here 233 years ago and raised a British flag.
And we generally celebrate it with heavy drinking, BBQs, fireworks, temporary tattoos, Aussie flags, maybe some loud music at the beach, maybe a burnout or two, and just generally being obnoxious.
I mean, how else should we celebrate the colonisation of a foreign land by a monarchy?
How else should we celebrate the disruption of the world’s oldest living culture?
How else should we celebrate and commemorate such a significant date?
My guests today, brothers Kyle & Josh Slabb, are Bundjalung men – men whose families, whose ancestors have been living in the same place for tens of thousands of years.
They’re men who have been brought up learning from their elders, learning the stories of how to live, how to help each other, and how to be in harmony with and respect Nature.
And you would think they have every right to be vindictive, to be unforgiving, to shut down from approaching our society. They are the polar opposite of those things. And it just goes to show the strength of their culture, their community, and their mindset, that they have spent their lives actively engaging, embracing, educating modern society about better ways to live for all of us.
They reflect on the last 200 or so years and say, “yeah, we need to acknowledge the truth of what happened, but what kind of world do we want to create, TOGETHER, for the next 200 years?”
These guys are such talented people. Between them they’ve done everything from curating musical productions (including at the 2018 Commonwealth Games), completed education in environmental management and gone on to be a National Park and Marine Park ranger, successful competitive surfing, business owners, and more… and one of their current projects is Banaam Cultural Intelligence, where they hold workshops for companies, schools, organisations all about principles of Indigenous culture that have successfully governed Indigenous societies for tens of thousands of years.
Now more than ever we need to highlight and hold up Aboriginal voices.
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