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Speech on Indigenous Australia

            But, you may say, we asked you to speak of Indigenous Australia, what does that have to do with a land of one's own. I will try to explain. They may have implied a timeline of sorts, within the greater context of a diversely cultured continent. One might have expected, at least superficially, for it to include a tribute to David Unaipon (1), or possibly Cathy Freeman; perhaps a remark on Neville Bonner's or Charles Perkin's political endeavours. However, more fundamentally, I thought of the loss of opportunity, a duality in lifestyles resulting in heightened infant mortality rates; a battle for sovereignty within their lives and misunderstood cultural differences. Not referring to a single issue but rather, a multiplicity of issues, intersecting and contributing to the disadvantage of aboriginal Australians within the broader Australian community. Who, you may ask, am I? Nobody ,in particular. I am nameless, I am faceless, I am voiceless and I am powerless. I am the lady you witness being called a 'coon' and 'abo', I am the man denied jobs he is qualified for, I am the boy taken from his family and community and I am the girl judged as unworthy and unclean, by the colour of my skin. I am no one, but I am everyone. I am the voice of Indigenous Australia.
             I ask you to imagine the red dirt, the way it falls through one's hands, the feeling of the cool replenishment of the waterhole gliding across one's dry skin on a hot day and the sizzling of the kangaroo over the fire as one peels off a piece of flesh to eat. I ask you also to contemplate the despair of the urban communities, overwhelmed by crime, unemployment, teenage pregnancy and the scourge of drugs and alcohol. The word, identity, comes to mind when contemplating aboriginal Australia. The shattering of one's self and the negative connotation's associated to those who are aboriginal. I could not help consider, as I read the history of Australian politics, what if Gough Whitlam was aboriginal, would his career had been the same? Let me imagine, a dark skinned boy in school, taking a politics class at a public school.

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