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…….
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
Of the visual splendour
That in theory it should have……
As a part
Of the most efficient design
Known to eye
Creations of past nations
Go against the grain of
What good is coming from
Even having this conversation?
6000 to 1
Character shadowed by his own short comings
A figure cascading
From the sky
At this sweet destination
Where life meets death
Out of date fruit to eat
One king had his crown
Pay us for what you owe us
Shines through a crack
From inside a box
Not really going anywhere
But staying no where
How did you,
Patriot of a war unrecorded