Having witnessed innumerable ‘Welcomes to Country’ since migrating Eastward during the early noughties and listening to a variety of elders opinions en mass, I’ve deduced I’m not at all convinced here on Cadigal.
I’ve personally observed how economics and power have manipulated certain communities across NSW and have heard stories commensurate with ‘blowing in’ and overthrowing of the traditional custodians of an area. Evolution is a convoluted subject whether we’re discussing Darwins theory or Dreamings. One thing is for certain in context of the ‘Sydney Basin’… when I took up residence in Redfern around 2009, individuals uttered different words of authority.
Tokenism be a dangerous descriptive. I should know, being born several shades shy of a ‘proppa blak’, gaining acceptance through identity has certainly earned my quarter-casten butt it’s fair share of battle scars.
If I’d received a dollar for every time some *unt has said – “you could do with a coat of shoe polish” then I’d be closer to retirement. However… I’ve NEVER accepted walung ($) for performing a “welcome” on another’s country. Somehow an ‘acknowledgement’ is more politically correct and it certainly feels as such.
This piece is a poignant comment on the topic. There’ve been some deplorable ‘circus’ acts as well as “elders” projecting absolute delusional bosh. ‘Little Joe’ is a 1930’s cast iron money box based on the racist deep south attitudes of the era. The mechanism sees a coin placed in the hand and he ‘feeds’ himself. Upon the distant hillside is a stylise Hollywood sign further indicating the side-show attraction that has become what we know as a… ‘welcome to country’. (applause)