There are many paths we travel: real paths and those that have a story. In fact, both are connected. Actually, everything is connected; and this is a theme I detected today and is one which has emerged over the last couple of days. So, if we accept that all behaviour is communication, that we need to be in ‘sync’ with another human to have a purposeful life, then the paths we travel are inter-connected. Put this into an Indigenous context then it becomes a matter of connection to land, to the story of the land. And that also translates to the Neolithic of Europe. Therefore, story telling and connection to country is universal. It is what we as humans have done for thousands of years. [I write as someone who studied archaeology/anthropology, before I studied social work. All experience is important and we need to draw upon that, be honest about that.]
Until recently. When we became disconnected to land. Everyone became. This is an all of human thing since we are now ‘global citizens’. [Or are told that we are: does the ‘global village’ actually exist?]
Here I think of what Malchiodi said of iGen. Will we need, as she said today, to educate people in the near future on how to communicate in person, through eye contact, body language?
I propose that we are all connected and that a so-called Western interpretation of history is but an intellectual exercise. As humans we are the same and need to connect on an anti-intellectual basis.
End of prologue. From today here are the headlines:
- Judy Atkinson was the standout for me. I knew the name, have seen the books, but to see Judy in person…well, that was transforming.
- As was Gabor Mate who put us all on notice at the concluding panel session by observing that Australia is a sick nation that does not respond when a Native man is killed by police in a cell. I quote: ‘your society has a deep malaise: when are you going to respond?’ This from a man who fled Hungary when it was invaded by Nazi Germany.
- Gender is a big theme. It was brought up at the final panel by Lisa Cherry. I don’t think Lisa got an answer to her question as to why men are giving opinions to women about how to raise a child. There was some fudging and it was evident few on the panel wanted to be exposed to this. The role of men in community is one that will need a lot of discussion in coming months and years, and I believe men have to stand up and speak out for women. More importantly, men need to educate young men about their roles, otherwise we will be bringing up another generation that abuses and controls. I speak as a father of a 23 year old who I see already controlling his partner. I need to do more.
- Finally, back to Judy. In her presentation this afternoon she made us stand and connect with the earth, to consider our Life Purpose. Her homework to us was: find your life purpose.
- Judy, I am trying.