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NAIDOC Week 2020 reflection

Always was, Always will be

Always was
Always will be
The Lands I walk on
And the Lands that walk within me

To know the history of First Peoples
Is to know the importance of place,
To know what being on country is,
Is to know and feel the connection

To want to hear the stories and feel the stories is our call to all,
To want to know and hear the Lands
as a gift, to our being and knowing,
To know and hear from First Peoples, is how we as First and
Second Peoples are called to the growing

To know the significance and compass that abounds us, as First
Peoples through place, is to know our links to the Land surpasses all time and space

But in knowing that connection
Is to know and reflect on, dispossession and its true realisation,
To hear the Land relation, is a call to know
and reflect on the impacts of invasion and colonisation

What is country, what is milaythina ningee (Mother Earth) in the
now and in the forever time for First Peoples?

Stolen lands,
At the colonisers hands,
Stolen connection,
By forced removals,
Under the myth of protection

In Lutrawita, the 9 Nations of our ancestors lived in harmony with the Land,
The Land is us,
And we are the Land

Imagine and reflect on what happens when that is taken away?

Declaration of “The Black War” here in Tasmanian must be told and must be heard,
The impacts of broken Treaties must be learned

May our Churches and agencies discern,
For it is in Nature’s classroom that we truly learn

Learn the struggle and the survival of a people and place in realisation,
Hear the cries of our people at the hands of colonisation

Reflect on Always was Always will be,
Not in words, but in action too

And embrace the message to unlearn and be free,
Not just in words but in hearts, souls and spirits too
And reflect on the privilege of the Land walked on and with:

Know its stories
Feel its stories
Feel its call
And feel its heart

Always was
Always will be
Within me

The Land is my compass
It connects me

It connects me to place past present and future too
It’s who I am
It’s who we are as First Peoples

And in the discerning of justice for Land return,
It’s the knowing of the importance of Place,
The healing of Place is the place to Learn

It’s in knowing this connection to Land, through this lens of
discernment the true lessons are learned

Honour the land and the stories sitting within Country wherever you may be,

And be in the knowing and the growing of:

Always Was
Always Will Be
As you gather

Can you hear the stories of place?
And as you walk and gather and stand?

Can you hear the connection in the forever time
of First Peoples’ Connection to Land?

Walk it
Feel it
Know it
Hear it
Honour it
Sit and be

With what it means to truly honour,
The words “Always was, Always will be”

Written by Alison Overeem
UAICC Tasmania
November 2020

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