Kanyini and Sorry Day
GSH staff member reflects on her roots and journey ahead of Sorry Day.
Wow! I have just been blown away by watching the documentary film, Kanyini. This beautiful story features an Uncle from Uluru, telling his story about connection, severance, and reconnection. As a newly arrived Pākehā from Aotearoa New Zealand this story provided a deep and profound learning experience for me.
Kanyini, alongside the books, Riding The Black Cockatoo by whitefella John Danalis, and Dark Emu by Bunurong man and Distinguished UTS Professor Bruce Pascoe, have been the three most powerful stories to rock my understanding and assumptions since moving here.
The thing is, I didn’t realise the extent to which I had made assumptions about Aboriginality and history here. The extent to which ‘information’ – or often, misinformation – takes hold in our beings is subtle, and, sometimes in unconscious ways, is quite astounding. I hadn’t spent any time at all getting to know and understand ‘Australian’ or ‘Aboriginal history’ before arriving in Sydney. Up until now, I have been focused on getting to grips with my own location and culture as a fourth generation Pākehā, and our shared history with Māori, and my genealogical history before that.
These three resources have had a profound and rapid impact on my learning journey about some of the history of this land and peoples. I am also very privileged to work alongside, and learn so much from, my fabulous colleagues in the Girra Maa Indigenous Health – Dr Megan Williams, Danielle Montgomery and Ellen Karimanovic. They have patiently and so respectfully supported my learning journey (sometimes clumsy and with blunders) since I joined the team some months ago. I think I had assumed (unconsciously at first) that much of my experience as a Pākehā would translate quite well here. Not so! That is the thing about diversity of ways of being, doing and knowing. It is too easy to be complacent to what we think we ‘know’, ‘understand’ and ‘believe’.
There are always new messages, subtle differences, and delicate similarities, all manner of things, to open our hearts and minds to. On that note, Girra Maa cordially invites you to another wee event!
The documentary is about 50 minutes long. For those that can stay a little longer, we’ll have a cuppa, and share afternoon tea together and reflect.
We also invite you to read Tim Gray’s story. While Tim is of a later generation than the Stolen Generations, he experienced severance from his Aboriginality, family and cultural foundations as a child taken into foster care. Tim’s story is one of inspirational strength, recovery and healing.
The Healing Foundation is a highly respected Aboriginal-led healing and support service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected from the impacts of the Stolen Generations. Check out their website for good information, resources, and ways to reconnect, connect and heal – like Uncle’s description of kanyini.
I look forward to seeing you on 22 May!
Girra Maa Indigenous Health