Lest we forget - all who died on country
Arrernte woman Bev O'Callaghan has always cherished the Desert peas that flourish in her garden in Alice Springs. Recently the blood-like colours of the flowers suggested a story to her. When Bev wrote ‘The Legend of Sturt’s Desert Pea’, she was unaware that the flower held ancient dreaming stories across Australia of being a flower of remembrance before the time of colonisation.
Bev uses her story and the commemorative pea flowers to foster understanding and conciliation in schools around the conquest and settlement of our land.
Floral activist Hazel Davies was introduced to Bev 6 months ago after 7 years of Making Peasce . They have now partnered together to help the little pea flower sing its song of truth and hope.
To make a big difference:
Morning Herald, 23 September, 1786, London
The transportation of felons to Botany Bay, seems the most extraordinary of all the extraordinary measures adopted by the present immaculate administration. The climate is said to be good, but the inhabitants inhospitable. Those, therefore, who are the pests of Society in this country, are to be favored with a settlement in a much more delightful region than that from which they are removed; and the natives because they are justly and naturally jealous of such invasion, must be destroyed by the armed force which is sent out with the convicts, to support the occupancy of lands not their own. I should have thought that a slight regard to the common rights of mankind might have prevailed in the breasts of the ministers who consulted upon this plan; and that they would have revolted at the idea of so much human blood being spilled in such unjustifiable acquisitions."
Map image courtesy of Connection and Wellbeing Australia CAWA/AIATIS
Respectful action to highlight the whole truth of military deaths.
School lesson plans with meaningful links to the K to 12 ACARA proposed national curriculum are being prepared. Collaborators and suggestions most welcome. Please share your lessons, creativity and images below.
On this ANACZ Day 2020 we as a nation are at war, bunkered down and sheltering from a viral holocaust that beggers belief. We have lost much. For those touched directly by death and grief across the globe there is no measuring cup sufficient to contain the tears.
For some the war trench is a safe, albeit topsy turvy haven from the battle. For others it is a place of deprivation and violence with all escape routes blocked. Our world will never be the same. History is rewriting itself and there is little we can do but wait, watch and listen for the air raid siren to sound out the end of the blitz.
In all this there is a creeping realization that somehow this is bitter medicine that we needed to take inorder heal, to stop and search our hearts, and to put things aright. The human race has been racing into a future without sufficient ‘consideration for the other’ as its bedrock. But now we are together in the fellowship of our sufferings. As we Australian caterpillars incubate in our short term isolation cocoons there is talk of the butterflies to come.
On this ANZAC Day at home, we sit as a commemorating diaspora and remember the sacrifice and loss in our war history. We shelter in the fellowship of our comradeship. Leadership reminds us that Australians can be relied upon to do the right thing and flatten the curve. Perhaps we are more together than before.
Let us also remember that our nation is now officially dotted with a rising curve indicating the places of sorrow and loss for our first peoples for whom there is no national day, or place of mourning. Let us feel the sting of our collective loss. Let us flatten the curve of traumatic memory and consider the long term unresolved anguish of our first nation brethren. We can do it. We are doing it.
I commend the brave and thoroughly Australian decision of the Tasmanian RSL. These returned warriors are offering safe passage and a haven in Hobart commemorative liturgies for those wishing to acknowledge the pain and traumatic memories of the Frontier Wars and massacres. So that all of our fallen may be honoured. Perhaps The Australian War Memorial could take a leaf out of their book and offer some space in the new refurbishment that reflects the brave new world into which we are praying to emerge.
An old rabbinical saying reminds us, the best way to know when the night has ended and the new day has dawned is when one can recognise the face of another.
Change the heart of the nation
I wear this pea flower as I pledge my loyalty to the recognition and sovereignty of all First Peoples of this land we now call Australia,
And to going forward together for their rights, liberties and respect with all my thoughts, words and actions.
May be said with or without the words, “under God.”
Written by Chris Pelterre Tomlins. Arrernte traditional owner and mentor for Making Peasce
Thank you Common Grace for helping to plant the seeds of truth at a place which perpetuates error.
We who came to this land now called Australia by birth or migration live upon stolen sovereign lands. In 2020 the voices of those who took these lands from its original peoples remain clearly audible through our history and curriculums.
These stories are further perpetuated and become visible in statues like the one under costly refurbishment at Botany Bay.
As our national origin myth continues to cover the truth of our ‘unsettling ‘ of this Great South Land, the memories of land and peoples lost continues to traumatize our aboriginal brethren.
Why is it that our government can so easily part with 48.7 million dollars to commemorate Cook's arrival? Why is it that we cannot find the courage, the time and money to facilitate a national day of mourning and acknowledgement for the Frontier Wars and massacres?
We as a nation know well the language of remembrance in our ANZAC stories.
We've paved our roads and decked our halls with poppies.
It's time to make peasce.
To read Brooke Prentis' words, spoken at Kurnell at sunrise on the 29th of April 2020, click HERE.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors please be aware that images and sounds of people who have passed away are included.