My Culture is dying.
I’m being told I’m a Half caste.
That I’m not a real Aboriginal.
What percentage are you they ask?
Surprised and shaken I answer with
“Excuse me. Who are you to ask such a thing?”
Are you questioning my identity of Aboriginality?
Or are you questioning my ancestral history?
My morals, my culture, my people, my stories
Or maybe you’re questioning my very own mob.
Even better my very own family
The people I identify myself as
The proud Wiradjuri nation
Let’s look at this:
Windradyne a proud Wiradjuri man
Who fought for our country, our rights, our people?
And he’s just one of many.
And well there you go and
if I’m honest with you I’m 100%
So, I’m sorry to disappoint but
I am a proud Aboriginal.
Artists Statement: My poem ‘Voices of the Wiradjuri People’ talks about some of the experiences I have had as a young Aboriginal girl. This poem represents my connection to culture, Country and family. In a world that often seeks to question our backgrounds, this poem stands as a testament to the strength of my Aboriginal identity. In the poem, the difficulties faced by People with Aboriginal backgrounds are explored, mirroring the sensitive nature of the question “What percentage are you?” This question makes me understand and consider the depth of my relationship with my people, my history, and my culture. Throughout the poem, I also talk about one of the Ancestors, Windradyne. I embrace the story of Windradyne, a brave Wiradjuri warrior who stood up for the rights of his people, as a way to trace myself to a proud and resilient ancestry. The story of Windradyne serves as a reminder that my identity is still defined and strong and should be fought for. The poem’s concluding lines read, “So, I’m sorry to disappoint but I am a proud Aboriginal, Mandaang Guwu”. The Wiradjuri word “Mandaang Guwu” (which translates to “thank you”) emphasizes our connection to our culture, Country, and family. So, in total “Voices of the Wiradjuri People” emphasises the power of identity, resilience, and the connection that Aboriginal people have to culture, land and family.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart reinforces the importance of truth-telling. Truth Telling allows us to acknowledge the History of First Nations peoples culture and to recognise the mistakes that have happened in the past so that we can learn from them and so we can help stop history from repeating, as well as helping to create a better future for all. By creating a better future for generations to come it will have a positive effect on not only First Nations Peoples but on everyone.
Artist: Bella Searle