The Warriors Ode

Rewind.

Ok, so after the visit to The British Museum, my Tiddas and I were extremely overwhelmed after coming into contact with artifacts forcibly ‘acquired’ from an unrecorded war.

The frontier wars as they are known.

When captain cook had first attempted to land and invade our lands in 1770, he was met by two warriors. These warriors responded to the european landing party, treating their attempted landing as a declaration of war with the throwing of their spears.

The english fired and ‘wounded’ one of the warriors. A bark shield was ‘dropped’ and picked up and taken on board the endeavour. This was recorded in cook’s journals but was also a yarn that has been told and retold and told again…….

Fast Forward.

242 years later, in the land where the invasion began we are standing, looking at the bark shield behind glass. A displayed relic of the untold story of Australia’s history exhibited and held as a part of the ‘colonial story’ elicited many different emotional responses. We watched as a group of schoolboys pushed past, looking for items on their activity sheets, they stopped and were pointing and agreeing that it was what they were looking for. This relic of war was now apart of a ‘scavenger hunt’ probably used to entertain the many school groups that would pass through the halls of the museum, to make education seem fun. None of this was fun for us.

I was familiar with the story as it is the story that we relay whenever the term ‘peaceful settlement’ is heard. We know this story because of what it represents and because the young people today who are upholding the legacy and fight for land rights whom use it as the first record of dissent from foreigners invading and founding the country now known as Australia during many heated debates and conversations with non Aboriginal people who like to romanticise about the frontier wars. Who tell US to get over it.

How can we get over it when we are still being oppressed by the ancestors of the invaders? How can we get over the white psychosis being perpetrated and materializing in the deplorable living conditions experienced back home?

I walked out of there feeling like I had a hole in my head.

Literally. It felt like air was hitting a nerve it’s not supposed to, the only way I could describe it is feeling like you just chipped a tooth. It is a weird feeling and I could not help but think about the many warriors bones and heads that have also been ‘aquired’ and stored away. What warrior would drop or lay down his spear and shield? I thought about this quite a bit as our discussions continued on through lunch, and then it hit me.

Only a dead warrior would lay down their shield.

I started to write…….

The Warriors ode

The catalogue
Grows jealous
Of the visual splendour
That in theory it should have……
As art.
As a part

Of the most efficient design
Known to eye
Creations of past nations
Go against the grain of
Colonisation
But hey,
What good is coming from
Even having this conversation?

6000 to 1

A sublime
Character shadowed by his own short comings
A figure cascading
From the sky
To arrive
At this sweet destination
Where life meets death
Better yet
Bitter sweet
Out of date fruit to eat
Polluted buffer
Weighted down
One king had his crown
Stolen
Pay us for what you owe us

Light
Shines through a crack
From inside a box
Not really going anywhere
But staying no where
How did you,
Patriot of a war unrecorded
Get here?
Lorna Munro.

Nàngami

Dreams are said to be the voice of the unconscious.

The ‘Dreaming’ for our non Aboriginal readers and followers is a term used to describe the interconnectedness and complexities of Aboriginal spirituality, mythology and creation.

There is no distinguishment from creation to today.

The term is an English word attached with foreign connotations of what a dream is.

Dreams are studied extensively as an attempt to understand the human brain and psyche.

What do our dreams tell us that words can not?

An analogy for dreams can be seen as files that we tap into each night when we close our eyes to sleep, ultimately downloading knowledge from our ancestors.

What are we, the embodiment of the past, present and future downloading when we dream?

Language is important to any cultural identity and heavily influences the social interactions that people may or may not have. In Australia, the diverse Languages and dialects of the land are disappearing at a rate never before seen in the history of human evolution.

The language of the land embodies the law of the land.

In 1788 Lt William Dawes sailed to Australia with Captain Phillip (soon to be first Governor) and he took an interest in many things “native”. He was especially fond of the Sydney languages and had many interactions with a young woman from the newfound Sydney town.

He kept a two notebooks recording many conversations.

The notebooks are a key resource for the revitalisation of the Dharug language and are more than words on paper. They closely detail a relationship between Dawes and Patyegarang, a young Cadigal woman, by the documentation of their yarns which range from Patyegarang’s sleep deprivation to statements of resistance.

On Wednesday, the Tidda’s had the opportunity to hold Lt William Dawes notebooks and read from the same text the young Patygareng once held and may have even written in herself.

We met up with archivist Susannah Rayner and director, David Nathan from the Endangered Languages faculty who showed us their small collection of materials that delve into first contact stories including Dawes Notebooks . Click here to view Dawes Notebooks online

Thanks to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, the Tiddas were given the time to hold the notes in our hands, to flick the pages, see the words, roll them out on our tongues and to reimagine the yarns between the first peoples and the invader, recorded more than 220 years ago.

After the overwhelming experience of the day before with “that shield” at the British Museum we were unsure of how we would react to the materials especially as they document the experiences of some of the Tidda’s ancestors and the mere fact that what happened in these places created a ripple effect of colonial oppression and cultural genocide in all of our communities.

The Tiddas discovered many things documented throughout Dawes Notebooks, more importantly they found many similarities between themselves and the young Patyegarang.

An excerpt from the notebooks display a level of defiance that is very much still evident today.

William Dawes had asked Patyegarang about a resistance that was forming, some say led by the first patriot to die defending his homelands, Pemulwuy. He had told her that a whiteman had been wounded some days ago in coming from Kadi (Sydney Cove) to Warang (the Rocks, Sydney) and asked her why the black men did it.

Patyegarang: Gūlara – (Because they are) angry.

Dawes: Minyan gūlara eóra? Why are the black men angry?

Patyegarang: Impám yaluri white man Because the white men are settled here.

Nàngami is to dream. This term is documented in Dawes notebook and the Tiddas wonder as to what dreams the Dharug mob were having during the initial stages of first contact?

Did that dream turn into a nightmare?

Milbah.

Ba-rang-a-roo.

War-rai-were Biel-bool.

Go-roo-ber-ra.

Bur-ro-wun.

Gome-bee-re.

Yello-mundy.

Djimba.

Its not too often that these names are spoken nor written. In fact these names belong to the many men and woman of Warran Circular Quay. Their names and stories too easily forgotten.

What messages can be decoded from our own Nàngami?
What are these voices saying?

Byalawayagu speak soon,

Gabi, Ali, Lorna & Lou

Also, the deadly David Nathan from the School of Oriental and African Studies has also written a blog about our experience with the materials. See blog here Thanks Dave!

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Origins: First Nations Festival Opening @ the Bargehouse, London. 22/10/13

By Tiddas Take Back.

Hey you mob! Just giving you a sneak peak of some of the footage from our incredible night at the Bargehouse, London for the Opening of the Origins: First Nations Festival. More comin’ soon!

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Diary of a Sovereign Traveller.

By Lorna Munro.

Day 1,
Thursday the 17th of October 2013

The preparations for the proposed travel to the land mass now known as “hiɪŋ.ɡLand” has been quite disappointing. My provisions have been size-ably decreased due to miscalculations of funds that were procured many moons ago alas, I look to the founders of our Great Commonwealth, of HaustalRalia for examples of how to create a great and prosperous nation from begging, stealing and borrowing, who have obviously done well with their efforts and I remain hopeful.

In accordance with my orders from the council of sovereign Wiradjuri elders and warriors, I am planning my official statement to be delivered in a few days passing. A ceremony is to be arranged from the landing party on arrival, I am interested in seeing the foreign dignitaries interpret their foreign tongues and art practices and further engaging in a conversation long overdue.

I shall keep you informed as to where my location will be once I have landed on the soil of our Invader ancestors, please prepare smoke and pray and give thanks to the creator for me, ask the father in the sky to protect me as I may encounter danger in my travels and may be interacting with savages and heathens who worship strange gods and monuments.

I eagerly await correspondence from our BLACK QUEEN AND BLACK COUNTRY.
Our forefathers will not have died in vain.
Yours in the Struggle

Yilinhi of the Wiradjuri

'Let me explore by own identity...' by Lorna Munro, 2013.

‘Let me explore by own identity…’ Lorna Munro, 2013.