This week is NAIDOC Week, an Australian observance lasting from the first Sunday in July until the following Sunday. The acronym NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It has its roots in the 1938 Day of Mourning, becoming a week-long event in 1975.
NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous Australian communities but also in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces.
I’ve spent the last few nights updating the galleries, about pages and tidying up a few other background bits and pieces on the Tasview website that will likely go mostly unnoticed.
One thing I’ve considered adding for quite some time is a respectful acknowledgement to the Indigenous population that were living in Australia for around 60,000 years before the arrival of Europeans.
When I go to some of the places I photograph by myself – as shown here, I often feel a sense of presence that is hard to describe. I always acknowledge and respect that presence, often by talking, asking for permission to be there and it may sound weird, but sometimes it’s as if I am guided along by someone who’s familiar with the area.
I was born in Tasmania, however not descended from the early settlers or convicts but more recent European immigrants, so called “one pound Pom’s” who immigrated in the early 1950’s.
I, like all of my generation was taught a version of Australian history from a white perspective at school. Some of us believe blindly what we are taught, some of us question it and seek further views and opinions. That doesn’t mean we believe them but have an open enough mind to consider other possibilities.
I was off work with a broken foot for 12 weeks a few years ago and much of that time I spent researching Indigenous Tasmanians. That in no way makes me an expert and I still remain ignorant to much that is now known. I’m happy to be corrected if any information here is incorrect and mean no offence 🙂
No one alive today really knows what happened 200 odd years ago, we can only guess from written personal accounts and opinion at the time and consider perhaps what motives the writer had for their words.
It is a sad fact there are no full blood Tasmanian Aboriginals left. Along with them has gone much knowledge their language, culture, history and beliefs. As they were generally coastal dwellers, most of their long term history (over about 60,000 years) is now most likely below the present sea level.
From my understanding, of all the known races on the planet at the time, the Tasmanian Aboriginals were apparently the least technically advanced humans on the planet. That is not to say they were any less smart, indeed, they were well in-tune with nature and cared for the land and in return, it cared for them. They were remarkable survivors in what can be a very harsh island environment, including living through the last Ice Age. Aside from many middens, flint-stones, a few stone engravings and many caves where they sheltered, there is generally not a great deal left to mark their passing.
Sadly, Tasmania currently has the worst laws in Australia in relation to the protection and preservation of Aboriginal artefacts, sites and heritage.
TasView acknowledges and pays deep respect to the palawa/pakana (Tasmanian Aboriginal) people of lutruwita (Tasmania) who have cared for this land for more than 2,000 generations and continue to do so. We remember and honour the original inhabitants of lutruwita past, present and future and respect their rich cultural heritage.