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  • animaphile
    Quoting from Aboriginal Spirituality: Past, Present, Future Anne- Pattel-Gray 1996 - Abogiginal in this context means Ozzie Indigenous people - talking!
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2003
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      Quoting from "Aboriginal Spirituality: Past, Present, Future" Anne-
      Pattel-Gray 1996 - Abogiginal in this context means Ozzie Indigenous
      people - talking!

      Anne Pattel-Gray
      (- PhD (Cand.), is the Executive Secretary of the Aboriginal and
      Islander Commision of the Australian Council of Churches (now the
      National Council of Churches in Australia))

      Aboriginal Spirituality is a central element of Aboriginal being and
      identity. These writings have grown out of the many requests from non-
      Aboriginal people who seek a deeper insight into Aboriginal
      Spirituality. Also, Aboriginal People felt a need to dialogue with
      one another about the sources and strengths of their Spirituality
      since it encompasses many different apsects, such as the Aboriginal
      perspectives on land, humanity and creation. The Aboriginal view of
      the world is so very different to the Western [materialist W.E.]
      view. We see land as an extension of our physical, spiritual and
      emotional form, and as the essence of our life-force, to the point
      that all life and creation are revered and valued.

      In 1990, the University of Sydney's Department of Religious Studies
      (now the School of Studies in Religion) sponsored an opportunity for
      Aboriginal leaders from across Australia to discuss their insights
      and perspectives on the topic of 'Aboriginal Spirituality and
      Perceptions of Christianity' At the gathering, many important
      questions were raised ...

      This publication contains many chapters from Oz Indig' people, one
      chapter is quoted below:

      Kevin Gilbert
      (The late Kevin Gilbert was a renowned poet, author and playwright,
      as well as a gifted storyteller and oils artist.)
      [A Indigenous Ozzie Legend]

      I'm not going to talk to any paper. It's good to see you all here,
      and I know that people have come from everywhere; there's a lot of
      serious matters on our minds, not just Spirituality.

      What is Spirituality? And why are we here? The Department of
      Religious Studies got the Blackfellas together and we should be
      asking the question, "Why?" Are they trying to open a cocoon and find
      out what's going on? "What makes this old Blackfella tick?" "What's
      he got?" "Why has he survived?" "Why haven't we managed to destroy
      him yet?" Now, they're serious questions. These things happen. These
      thoughts may be nothing - I'm not going to be so malicious as to say
      that's a part of the motivating force here - but these things happen.

      They Tried to Kill the Soul in Us

      The old Aboriginal ways go right back into the past. In the Dreaming -
      maybe you want to call it the creation story time - we were created
      in this land. The Whitefellas say 40,000 years ago but, no, we go
      right back to creation time. And we have always been part of this
      land. The Whitefellas' story, the Whitefellas' Bible story, that's a
      Whitefellas' Creation story. That's his song, that's his song cycle,
      that's Whitefellas' way. That story comes from Jewish people,
      Christ's people over in Israel. They were fighting the Romans at that
      time and a lot of the Romans listened to the words of Christ and they
      became Christians.

      Now, the background to all those societies is different to Blackfella
      mob.[Oz Blackfellas] The background to all those societies was a
      colonial, or a colonising, society. The Romans colonised. Then it -
      the colonising process - moved. When it moved over to England way,
      England's people became colonists. Christianity moved there and moved
      over to Ireland; the English colonised sections of Ireland. That's
      why you've got the IRA there now still trying to get them fellas out.
      Then they moved over to America and put all them Indian people down,
      put 'em in refugee camps, called them reserves. And today the same
      English people (England, America, Australia, you know) have got
      control of Papua New Guinea. Wherever they moved, they call
      themselves Christians. They went with the Bible and the gun. Wherever
      they moved they slaughtered the Indigenous People, and they
      said, "Brother, sister, be happy in heaven because the good reward
      comes to the meek. You don't need real estate, you don't NEED land.
      But WE need land, we need to build our big churches. You fellas live
      down there by that river bank. You don't want anything else. That's
      all you fellas need. We'll take the real estate here"! (Now I'm not
      condemning all the Christians because some Christians helped save our
      lives.) They destroyed our culture, they helped destroy our people.
      And why did they do that? Because they have never been able to face
      what that Christ fella was saying - never been able to understand
      what he was saying. Never been able to understand what the spirit was

      Adam and Eve were born in the Garden of Eden. And they were naked and
      they lived with all the animals. They were all like one mob, like
      Blackfellas, and animals ,and trees. They were all one mob. and then,
      Adam and Eve started to get what they thought was self-determination.
      It wasn't like a lot of sick Whitefellas said. It wasn't sex -
      Whitefellas have always had a hang-up about sex. But Adam and Eve
      didn't follow god's commandments out because it was natural for them
      to live there. It was natural for them to be unclothed. They were
      there as God's creation with the animals. Anyway, they were moved out
      because they wanted to do something (and it wasn't sex!). And God
      said, "You've lost your Eden".

      Now Aboriginal Eden has always stayed here, until 200 years ago, with
      Aboriginal People. This was our Eden. There was no sin. We didn't
      need to plunder our neighbours. We didn't need to pillory each other.
      We didn't need jails. We didn't go around murdering kids. We didn't
      have to have slaves. That was the level of our Spirituality. We never
      said that God's up that way and that heaven's over that way or hell's
      down that way because we were IN heaven. I'm in heaven now. This is
      my heaven - Aboriginal land, the creation is heaven. Hell comes into
      it when you get greed and oppression and ego. Or when one man comes
      along and says, "That didgeridoo is the music of the devil. Your
      lingo, that's the talk of the devil. You stop that tongue or I'll go
      and wash your mouth out with soap, and cut your hair off!" This
      happened to us, we weren't heathen, we were civilised people. We
      didn't need to war, we didn't need to kill.

      Two hundred years ago Captain Cook came to this country and he said
      that the condition of the Aboriginal People was so good that it was
      better than the condition prevailing for the people in England. Over
      in England they had little kids in the coal mines like slaves,
      cutting coal, crawling on their hands and knees, starving. They were
      making slaves out of them, making money out of them. And they were
      hanging people for stealing a bit of bread.

      Out here - our communities and our people - we were in heaven. It was
      good. We had our medicines; we had more medicines going than the
      Whitefella. They found out we had more tucker, more vegetables
      growing than the Whitefella. But they, in their wilful way, wanted
      more LAND. They wanted to get their message across, which they
      believed was the message that would save everybody. But instead of
      saving the people, the churches crucified Blackfellas. They put the
      boys in compounds, girls in compounds, took kids away so it would
      make them white, where it would turn them into Christians. And they
      tried to kill the soul in us. And that's even happening today. And
      I'm not castigating the churches - I don't want to see people hanging
      down their heads. I want them to start looking. This needs to be a
      thinking conference, we-got-to-face-the facts conference, we-got-to-
      find-out-where-we're-going conference, because we're talking about
      survival, not only of Blacks, but the survival of the White people

      The Church: Facing the Facts

      The church is starting to face the fact that there's a lot of people
      out there, White people, who are no longer going to church. The
      churches are losing their grip, losing their power, losing the
      people, losing the message. Because they've tried to kill the
      humanness of people and tried to go along the wring track. Now you
      can't do that. You can't judge.
      One of the reasons for Christ with all those fishes and the bread was
      to FEED people. How many Christians, with all their asking for money
      and all the churches - don't need to say their names - all the mobs
      who keep talking about money for the poor and about saving the kids -
      all these visions - how many of them do you see around the city where
      the votes are, or where the money is, or where the real estate is?
      And how many of them do you see out there with the soup kitchens or
      with old clothes? How many of them do you see out there with
      medication where the old Blackfella's suffering? Now there's a lot of
      our kids dying today. While we're sitting here our kids are dying
      from the apathy, from the UNHOLINESS, from the greed, the blindness,
      the condemnation and the judgement of the people who call themselves
      Christian in this land. Is it right or is it wrong? You know people
      are DYING.
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