This is a map of all the Indigenous Australian tribes and language groups.
I live on Jawoyn country.
Many people in my town are fairly racist… towards Indigenous Australians. They hold the mainstream view of most Australians, based on ignorance, media influence and a poor quality/biased education on this nation’s history, that ‘those people’ are ‘…’ <- enter something derogatory, negative, (dis)connected from reality. My daughter was even pulled into the mix by her young ‘friends’ saying ‘you can’t do this because your black but we can cause we’re white.’ She was 3 1/2 when she first heard that one. Although… she’s African Australian… not Indigenous.
But this story is not about those racist habits of mind. This story is about something that happened to me today that made me very happy.
This morning my daughter and I were getting ready for work and school, I piled up myself with bags and went to the car where I opened it and we all piled in. I couldn’t find my phone though, which thirty seconds before that had been on the kitchen table. I called my husband from work to let him know that if he went home for lunch could he look for it. When we got home we searched the house and the garden.
My daughter has a friend across the road whom she always plays with. They are Indigenous Australian. My daughter and her friend look so much alike. Big brown eyes, honey/coffee skin, full pink lips, gorgeous, little, round bodies of two healthy, happy 4-year old girls. The only difference is my daughter is a little taller, heavier and has the wiry African hair in shades of mousey-brown and her friend has soft darker brown curls.
Well, they were playing together so I went to see the grandma and she said to me, ‘Did you lose your phone today?’ More statement than question.
‘Yeah,’ I replied, ‘how did you know?’
She told me that the lady three doors down had picked it up off the road that morning and brought it to her partner to see whose it was. She saw the photo of my daughter but wasn’t sure which house we were in. Grandma said that her partner would get it and bring it over later. When he came home he went to get but it was in the lady’s son’s car. So a little bit later my husband and I went to see the partner and we all went down to the house and she handed the phone over to me. I thanked her very much and we held hands in acknowledgement of the importance of phones and returned items very dear. She hadn’t come over earlier cause she was watching all her grandkids.
In this town the council puts fences up so itinerants don’t mess up the places tourists are supposed to visit. They put the sprinklers on the median strip in the morning to make sure all the drunkards from the night before wake up and move on before the ‘decent folk’ start their day. Many educational professionals use the argument of a difference in brain-size and make-up for the reason an Indigneous child’s literacy is so poor. The local mobs who make unflattering comments about the people in their town write weekly letters to the local paper complaining about those who humbug them in the car park just to get a gold coin from their trolley. I always say no and inform the person that if they didn’t help me put the bags in the car then they do not deserve the coin. In Ghana one always has to work for their dough. The other day for the first time a man helped us put the bags in the car. What was I to do? I had to give him the trolley to put away and get the coin back. He wanted cigarette papers, he said.
In my street there’s a Filipino family, there’s a house of young kids who’ve just left home, there’s a few RAAFies down the end and us – the African Australian mob at the end of the cul-de-sac. There are also many housing commission houses with Indigenous families and it’s those people who connected with each other to gain information so that they could give me back my phone.