Dan and Lu's Travels
Hot and sunny all day today (perfect day for the reef!)Got the bus 11km north of Cairns to Tjapukai; which is an Aboriginal park owned and run by the Tjapukai tribe, who are local to here. This place was fantastic! There was a film about the history of Aboriginals, the subsequent arrival by Europeans and the resulting violence. It was a very moving film, obviously told from the aboriginal point of view. I have had a vague sense of uneasiness in Oz with this subject; mainly that white aussies don't seem to know and or more disturbingly care about the recent history of their country. The only (and oft repeated) comment we've heard from Australians about aboriginals is that they can't handle their drink and there are quite a few who are alcoholics and drug addicts. Firstly, so what if someone can't handle their drink? And secondly,this seems to be the end of the matter, like a statement (with a certain amount of disgust in their voice) rather than a lament.. There seems to be a very obvious divide,with aboriginals on the wrong side... The film was sad in parts, telling the story of european settlers who took their land and their livlihood away and left them in their own country but with nowhere to live. One statement really stood out for me; it was spoken by a Tjapukai elder who said (repeating the words of his ancestors),that "when we first saw the white men, we thought they were the spirits of long dead ancestors,coming to visit us....... we were afraid" That statement I think shows the way of thinking of those people back then. They were innocent in so many ways, the reasons why they were afraid and then what happened to them after is so sad. But there was an upbeat side to it, more recently that the Tjapukai language has been revived and many members of the aboriginal community locally can speak it hear their tribe's stories and legends in the language they wree meant to. Another video performance was about their beliefs and stories. That was brilliantly done, with projections and actors interacting. The stories are never written down traditionally, they are passed down fromgeneration to generation and have been for 40,000 years. There was a fabulous show of dance and song in which they described the body paint and their tribal names, danced, sung and made fire. They also needed volunteers so Dan was up on stage making fire (thinkthis getting to be a bitof an obsession Dan...) and attempting the dance, which was funny. We got taught how to throw boomerangs and spears and to play the didgeridoo, which I was quite good at! The whole thing was fab.