Homeland Calling – Let The Revolution Begin

31 May

Homeland Calling: Words from a New Generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voices

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day the Spirit of Jesus was let loose into the world to empower creation to be Divine, to come alive with the sense and sensibility of the Great Creator Spirit.

All were included who gathered there. They heard the Story in their own language, not to become evangelists of that story but so they could enact that story in their own culture and language. Language acts. When we hear, we do. When we say we hear ourselves say it, we become more and more like what we hear.

If we hear it in our own language it takes in the complexity and particularity of our own space. It becomes ours and develops an autonomy specific to our situation.

We, each, hear the Spirit in the land we live in, and it is unique, diverse, and we discover it is already there, embedded all around us. We begin to see, hear and act in sync with what has been there all the time.

This is where our sense of justice comes from – we discover that the Spirit is just-us and if the spirit enlivens us then we are to treat all as just-us, not different, less than, inferior to, objects to be used but they are just-us and therefore deserve the respect and fairness we say is found in Christ who is in us.

This day is also the Sunday of reconciliation Week. No matter what one may feel about the idea of reconciliation or the usefulness of the concept, today is the day we are to enact the deep meaning of Pentecost in our country in order to rectify the original sin continuing to impact Aboriginal people.

Without facing our corporate sin, we cannot say truthfully we are people of the Pentecost fire.

For my recent birthday, Gaye gave me the book, “Homeland Calling”. It is a collection of poetry in the rap style put together by young aboriginal people across the country. Danzal Baker, aka Baker Boy, spent some months working with young people, looking at their situation and developing work expressing their understanding of the situation and what is important.

It is a powerful collection of voices in their own languages. Each group was encouraged to write in both English and their particular language because to hear yourself speak the truth in your own language empowers you to act in culturally appropriate ways to resolve the truth spoken. It connects you to the spirit of your people and the land in which you live.

In one poem we read:

‘My spirit and my soul

my people lost control

the pain will take hold

will take its toll

until you open your heart

no, you can’t take control

unless you start

strength in my roots

hope in the wind

strength in my soul

in the spirit within”

Powerful words when you remember these young people were mostly under 18. when they wrote these pieces.

These pieces of poetry are not about reconciliation in the sense we have come to understand it. They are not about being nice to one another. And although they are not about revolt, they are about revolution. They are about a revolution in the sense they dismiss the need to be white, to be assisted or controlled by the white system. Revolution is about empowerment and these poems are about that.

We are to be empowered by what has been present in us from the beginning, we are country, we are people and we will rise up and be ourselves in this land, with or without white support.

One poem says.

Who’s the most dangerous blackfella under the sun?

The most dangerous blackfella is an educated one.

Where does that education come from? My homeland, the place that is the:

strength in my roots

hope in the wind

strength in my soul

in the spirit within”

Only when that education is alive and moving within us are we able to find education in other ways. Here is empowerment at work, comfortable in our own skin we begin to engage in other peoples meanings without the need to embrace it because it is all there is or because it is forced upon us. In this revolution, we take back our agency we become the initiators of our own freedom.

We are no longer beholden to the idea of reconciliation and its focus on deepening our relationship with each other, we become strong and speak truth unto injustice and become empowered by the Spirit to change our world.

Just as Pentecost sparked a revolution, setting the Spirit of transformation free into the world, this little book and the poems in it have sparked a transforming revolution in the lives of those who wrote them.

And because of that, there is hope for equity and justice in this country. Not yet. It is to come, but come it will and it won’t be comfortable for those for whom reconciliation is about superficial relationships and appearances. It won’t be comfortable for those who have RAP plans with no sacrifice, real sacrifice attached. It will not be comfortable for all those who have said sorry but continue to live on and off stolen property.

It won’t be about violence, but it could be. The example we see of an oppressed people rising up in America this week should not be seen as their particular problem. I am amused at the concern shown by Australians for Black Americans and the Apathy shown when the same crimes are being committed against our people here on a regular basis.

No, it may not be a violent revolution, but it will about a rebalancing of power and the disturbing of the apathy in our society. We will say no to the spirit of colonialism or neo-colonialism and we will be free to be powerful in our own ways. We will be free to be alive in the Spirit of our homeland.

Interesting really, as that was the point of Pentecost.

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