Remembrance Day and remembering…

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month… we will remember them”. 

Right now I’m remembering back when I was shooting down the shop to do some messages and mum reminded me to “keep my wits about me” because it was Remembrance Day and when it turned 11 o’clock I was to STOP what I was doing, bow my head and remember those who gave their all in the War.

Querulous me asked… “but how will I know if it’s 11 o’clock” for I had no watch.  “Just keep your wits about you Catherine”… I did and I knew it was “the time” because everything, and everyone, stopped and the silence was palpable.

Remembrance Day is indeed the time for remembering and finally the War Service of our Indigenous Australian’s has been recognised with the unveiling of our Nation’s first memorial, here in Adelaide, South Australia dedicated to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Servicemen, and Servicewomen  and  and my heart just about bursts with pride and happiness.

I also learn that the Boer War, more than 110 years ago, marked the first time Aboriginal soldiers served on active duty with Australian services and then remember another reason to be proud to be South Australian. It’s that magnificent statue in our C.B.D. at the corner of King William Street and North Terrace honouring the 12,000 Australians who served in the six colony contingents which was the first time Australians had served/ fought overseas but because it was before “Federation” has been largely overlooked. These soldiers were volunteers and mostly mounted units known as MOUNTED RIFLES, BUSHMEN or IMPERIAL BUSHMEN. In honour of the 600 who died the SOUTH AFRICA WAR MEMORIAL was unveiled, here in Adelaide, on 4 June 1904 by Governor Le Hunte.

“Your stature is a statue of action and it betokens the action of Empire when it is called for” 

Then sadness overtakes me as I remember those whose sacrifices certainly are not honoured, not respected and their memorials are moved and/ or destroyed. To read about this please follow this LINK.

RESOURCES:
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nations-first-aboriginal-war-memorial-at-torrens-parade-ground-unveiled/story-fni6uo1m-1226756887144?sv=143efa29cdfb8ab475c78f7bae4f9be4#.Un98T9I0ZJA.facebook

http://www.antiquarianprintgallery.com.au/Boer-War-1899.htm

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

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THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY: Australia’s “Close the Gap Day” and Constitutional change…

THINKING - Hmmm.cloudThinking… navel gazing… reflecting… call it what you like.  I love it!

From the time I was “knee high to a grasshopper” I’ve always wondered WHY? … asked endless questions and no doubt driven those around me nearly crazy, which is probably why I’d sometimes get infuriating answers like:

*  It’s  a wig- wam for a goose’s bridle.
*  That’s for me to know and you wonder about.
*  Just because…

As this blog is a legacy for my descendants, I’ve decided to start up “Thoughtful Thursday” posts to share some of the thoughts which have engaged me.  Maybe other readers will enjoy them too and may have had similar thoughts?

If you have your own “Thoughtful Thursday” reflections it’d be fun if you share and I’ll set up some sort of a link. How I would do this I have no idea… guess that’s another “Thoughtful Thursday” post for another day… but seems pretty “do-able”, I reckon.

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My thoughts, this week, have been flying around all over the place… hither and thither… and is why, despite having done all the research long ago, this weeks “Tuesday Trove” post was rather late off the “starting blocks“.

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Australian Aboriginal Flag

Then not so long ago it all hit me right in the very centre of my forehead and my thoughts focussed totally on matters to do with our original Australians. This was prompted by a FaceBook post from Lanie, the delightful niece of my former husband whom I also claim as my own. Up popped the following vid, from Lanie,  titled “Generation One Real Studies”

Aboriginal warning.vid

Ohhh… reached into my very soul, touched my heart and gave it a good old tweak. Of course the long term unemployed, and those who’ve grown un with generations of welfare dependancy, are stuck in a rut don’t know how to get out and need REAL training for REAL jobs, not these “mickey mouse” training schemes which “tick all the boxes” but are meaningless, useless and unfocussed.

Close the Gap

So me, being me, I went “a-googling” and was SO surprised to discover that TODAY, the 21st March 2013, is our Australian “National Close the Gap Day”

HOOLEY DOOLEY!!! … how come I knew nothing about this? …

Closing the Gap.

Then, a little earlier today this wonderful breaking news hit the media…  the South Australia’s Parliament is expected to approve recognition of Aboriginal people in the state’s constitution.

So proud, am I to be a South Australian on this memorable day. A bill to amend the constitution received bi-partisan support in the Lower House and will go before the Upper House this afternoon and is expected to be passed. The bill recognises past injustices and acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional owners and occupiers of South Australia. Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ian Hunter, says the change is long overdue.

“For too long, our foundation document, our South Australian constitution was a blank canvas in terms of mentioning Aboriginal South Australians. It had no recognition of them and paid no respect to them whatsoever.”

Aboriginal leader and convenor of an advisory panel on the bill, Professor Peter Buckskin, says the amendment acknowledges that Indigenous people were dispossessed of their land.

Professor Peter Bucksin

Professor Peter Bucksin

“There is now a new respect for our culture that has survived the 175 years of that dispossession.

This process has really been one of continuing the reconciliation journey. It’s getting more South Australians to understand Aboriginal culture, traditions and knowledge and our connection to our country, land and sea”

Here’s a clip of the wonderful Warrumpi Band with “Jailangaru Pakarnu” for your enjoyment and in celebration of “Close the Gap Day 2013”.

So, there you have it… my focussed thinking for this week.

Hoping that if this week hasn’t been the most WONDERFUL ever for you that you’ve got through it OK and have come out smiling on the other side.  Cheers, Catherine.

CATHERINE.ME

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RESOURCE re: Constitutional Change in South Australia.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-21/constitutional-recognition-for-indigenous-south-australians/4586158/?site=indigenous&topic=latest

Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

MUSICAL MONDAY: The Drover’s Boy

The Drover's Boy.“The Drover’s Boy” is a song by Ted Egan and recalls the time when it was illegal for Caucasians and Aborigines to marry, and the death of an Aborigine went unnoticed by the white community. This popular and moving Australian folk song comes from a true story about a Caucasian drover (the Australian name for a cowboy or sheep herder) who is forced to pass off his Aboriginal wife as his “drover’s boy”. Ted Egan wrote this song as a tribute to the Aboriginal stockwomen, in the hope that one day their enormous contribution to the Australian pastoral industry might be recognized and honoured.

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The drover

Ted’s song has been expanded into a book… the details can be found HERE.

THANKS TO: Wikipedia… please click HERE for the link and further information.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Ii – is for Indigenous Australians

The Traditional Owners of the land on which I live are the Kaurna people (pronounced “Gar-nu”). With the letter “Ii” for the Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” falling “smack bang” in the middle of NAIDOC week, it’s a perfect time for me to share a little of my experiences and constantly growing knowledge of our Indigenous Australians, their family life and culture.

Please be aware that this post is likely to include references, and photos, of Aboriginal people who may now be deceased. If unsure of what this means just click HERE for an explanation.

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In 1978 CH and RM Berndt wrote:

“Children are still taught Australian history almost as though human life here started with the coming of the Europeans. Even when people acknowledge that ‘there were Aborigines here’, that they were the First Australians, they sometimes seem to feel that they have done their duty by saying so.” 

Born and bred in South Australia, and growing up in the 1940’s, 50’s & 60’s, this was certainly my experience. Thirty years later I was lucky enough to work with some amazing people to help bring about educational change. My school was one of the first to trial the first South Australian “Aboriginal Education Curriculum” in which all aspects of traditional Aboriginal life were included, and embedded, in our daily classroom activities.  

1992 was a year of Training & Development for teachers, school support officers and interested parents. Many Aboriginal people patiently taught us about their culture. We learnt how their “skills for living” and “law” were passed on orally, in dance, music, song and all artwork. They shared how their strong spiritual attachment to the land was conveyed in their stories of “the dreaming”. We learnt about their innovative technology, gathering and hunting techniques and much more.

By 1993 we were all very exciting, “rip roaring and ready to go” with every teacher, school support officer, student and many many parents involved in indivual classroom activites as well as whole school initiatives. What a joy to have hundreds coming together to learn, celebrate and begin to understand the world of “The First Australians”. We: 

*  included stories of “the dreaming”, written and illustrated by Aboriginal people, in our reading/ writing programmes.

* taught ourselves the words to the song “Terra Nullius” so we could sing along, with gusto, to the “audio tape”.

* took a day visit to Camp Coorong where Mr Trevorrow told us all about “bush tucker”, “bush medicine”, how to weave baskets in the traditional way and much much more.

* painted our “stories” on bark as the aboriginal people did but with our own symbols and telling our own stories. 

* loved that Damien taught us his dances of “the dreaming”. Although it was not real easy to dance like a kangaroo it got much easier with practice.

* camped in the “Adelaide Hills” and went for a night walk, and day walks, at “Warrawong Sanctuary” to see “endangered” native animals in their natural environment. These beautiful creatures are protected from introduced European predators, like cats and foxes, by a “fox proof” fence.

  * were so happy that our teachers let us paint that boring looking, but fun to play in, “pipe” in our school playground in Aboriginal colours and chose our own symbols in respect.

* had great fun when teachers, parents and children from the Kaurna Kindergarten” came visiting. They told exciting stories and how to sing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” in their language.   

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These are just a few examples of an amazing and unforgettable year in my teaching career. It was topped off, in1994, when our School won the South Australian section of an national competition “to promote Aboriginal and Islander culture”. What a surprise that was! We weren’t out to win any competition and I had no idea that one of our School Support Officers had gathered up a lot of the children’s work, photographs and entered us in this competition.

Although delighted with this recognition, my greatest pleasure is the ways in which our work has helped make a difference. e.g, Young Samantha Snow, in the photo above, is now a adult woman and along with her mum, Raylene Snow, were foundation members for  “Marra Dreaming” in Salisbury, South Australia, created in 1999. It seems my heart will burst with happiness everytime I drive past.

Raylene was one of our “school mums” always available to support struggling students in any way possible. What a HUGE help she was with one of my “little tackers” who was finding school life very difficult.  I still treasure a number of her original Aboriginal Artworks like the delicatedly painted ear-rings that look like “clapping sticks”, beautifully painted cards and one especially gorgeous hair clasp, not that I especially like “goannas”.  🙂

In the Kaurnu language, “Marra Murrangga Kumangka” means “hands work together”. To find out more about “Marra Dreaming” just click HERE.

Much change has occurred in the last 20 years, and especially since 1979 when CH and RM Berndt wrote of our abysmal ignorance of “The First Australians” and we still have far to go to heal our Nation, but what a joy to have been a part of helping with that process. I thank everyone involved.  

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FURTHER RESOURCES/REFERENCES: 
CH and RM Berndt. Pioneers & Settlers: The Aboriginal Australians. Pitman, Victoria, Australia, 1978. ISBN: 0 85896 5720

RM & CH Berndt. The World of the First Australians. Ure Smith, Sydney, Australia, 1964, 1977. ISBN: 0 7254 0272 5

Department for Education and Children’s Services South Australia. Aboriginal Art and the Dreaming. 1994. ISBN: 0 7308 2092 0

Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, ACT, Australia, No 6 November 1993, Walking Together.  ISSN: 1038-9881

The Coorong Wetlands, http://www.thecoorong.com 

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Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family.

Indigenous Literature Week 2012

This cold and wintry weather is just perfect for snuggling down with a good book. You might like to join me, and others, in celebrating Indigenous Literature Week & NAIDOC Week (1-8 July 2012), right in the middle of the Australian “National Year of Reading 2012”, by choosing from a book written by an Indigenous person … not only Aboriginal, Torres Strait or Maori writers but all indigenous literature from anywhere in the world.

Your can find lists of exciting Indigenous Literature at ANZ Lit Lovers Lit Blog and/ or Stumbling Through the Past and browse to you heart’s content.

You might even like to join in with other “ANZ Lit Lovers”, sharing your choice and making comment…

Enjoy!!!

Thanks to AUSFLAG for the image of the Aboriginal Flag.

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Copyright (c) 2012. Catherine A. Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”