18.8 C
Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

Magnificent sporting prowess and flag pride after 2021 NAIDOC

Latest News

Mud benda rant

Regarding last week’s Splendour Festival and all the ‘haters’ out there. I took along a few seriously fun-deprived teenage...

Other News

Neanderthal vs. modern humans: Slow and steady wins the brain game

Our closest human relatives are Neanderthals and their Asian relatives the Denisovans. The differences between Homo sapiens and these other groups are encoded in changes to the amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins in our cells and tissues.

Developer sparks storage stress

Byron-based property owner/developer, Josh Thompson, has created a shitstorm within the community after trying to evict customers renting 160 units at his ACE storage facility within a week, to make way for 26 warehouses.

Be alert – koalas are on the move

Yes it's that time of year and Friends of the Koala are urging members of the public to contain dogs at night and keep a lookout for koalas on their properties and when driving, particularly during dusk to dawn.

Bruns underground car park reconsidered 

Byron Council’s decision to approve a controversial mixed-use development in Brunswick Heads that would include the town’s first underground car park could be overturned at this week’s meeting, with a group of councillors moving a rescission motion.

Undesirable

​​An undeniable purpose in living is enjoyment, due to the fact that we have the capability to enjoy. What...

Recognising history

I arrived in Mullum from Sydney in 1976 – I loved the town and the people and felt like...

Bob Morgan

NAIDOC is usually a fantastic time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and is celebrated as an opportunity to showcase culture and contributions made by Indigenous Australians to Australia and the world. The 2021 theme of ‘Heal Country’ served to remind us of the beauty of the home of the oldest continuous culture on the planet.

Country is central to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identity. It is a symbiotic relationship that defies definition, but for culturally grounded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Country is where we are from, and to where we will return.

Joe Flick, a mate of mine, has written about the importance of Country; Joe has been visiting the graves of Aboriginal soldiers who died, and who are buried in France and England. Joe’s story is inspiring and comforting, especially to those who’ve lost loved ones while in defence of their country.

Joe writes: ‘I knew that they were so far from mob, and disconnected from Country. After talking to some family members of the soldiers, I decided that I would try to “bring their spirits home” by scattering soil taken from the soldier’s traditional Country on their graves in France and England. By doing this, I hoped that it bought some peace; to the soldiers, their relatives and to Country.’

First Nations sports stars use strength for change

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also shone in the sporting arena during NAIDOC 2021.

Shaun Burgoyne, a proud Kokatha and Warai man from South Australia, became the first Aboriginal player to reach 400 games, and only the fifth overall in more than 125 years of AFL competition.

Then there was the announcement, coming during NAIDOC week, that Aboriginal basketball player, Patty Mills, will join swimmer Cate Campbell as Australian flag-bearers during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. Patty is a great inspiration for all Australian kids, and is fiercely proud of his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity. Patty has used his fame and fortune to give back to community through gifts and donations.

Increasingly, we are recognising how important it is for high profile athletes to lend their name to causes, but it’s taken to another level when such people also share their wealth to initiate respect and change.

Red, black and yellow flag pride

In 2019, Patty reportedly donated his entire annual salary of $1.4m to support the advocacy work of various campaigns in Australia, including ‘Black Lives Matter Australia’, ‘Black Deaths in Custody’ and the work of the ‘We Got You’ campaign, which is supported by some of Australia’s biggest sporting identities. It is dedicated to standing against racism by providing a voice for long overdue racial justice and change.

I read with pride that Patty also carries the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags with him, and I’m sure that they will make an appearance during the Tokyo Olympics.

Contrast this with how Cathy Freeman was treated when she proudly ran around the arena draped in the Aboriginal and Australian flags after winning the 400m gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Cathy was castigated by Arthur Tunstall, the Australian team’s chef de mission and she learnt, through the media, that Tunstall had banned her from flying the Aboriginal flag in any other celebration.

Cathy was not denying her Australian identity, but rather she wanted people to know how proud she was (and is) of her Aboriginal identity. Cathy is reported to have said after the 400m race: ‘This was my race, and no one was going to stop me telling the world how proud I am to be Aboriginal’.

Six years later, what Cathy did at the Sydney Olympics is now sporting legend and world history.

Slow but magnificent progress towards equality

Ashleigh Barty’s magnificent Wimbledon victory was played with the grace and humility of her idol and mentor, the mercurial Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

Ashleigh’s victory marked the 40thanniversary of Evonne’s Wimbledon triumph, and came during the early hours of the last day of NAIDOC week 2021, something that Ash acknowledged during a post-match interview.

Also receiving considerable media attention was the support from Australian cricketer, Mel Jones, who was courtside during Ash’s event, wearing a T-shirt with the message: ‘Always Was – Always Will Be’ emblazoned on it. This simple message speaks to unfinished business in our nation. Ash acknowledged Mel Jones and her shirt with a smile and a finger point as she left the court with the Rosewater Dish.

The pace and path toward social and racial equality is painfully slow, and contested, but progress is being made in our country and around the world. The young and future leaders increasingly understand the need for reform, because they are creating their world rather than simply inheriting it.

I remain captured by hope.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. It is so informative of Bob Morgan to make the point that these aren’t Australian athletes , they’re a different race .
    It is possible to define the ” symbiotic relationship that defies definition” it is a marriage of convenience forced by the Mabo decision, where it was found that Islanders do have an ownership of land titles , while aboriginals don’t, and so ever since these traditional enemies are now joined at the hip.
    Joe Flick has found a little hobby to entertain himself so that is wonderful , a great way to see Europe, but I suspect it is taxpayer funded.
    While I, for one, feel ashamed that these kids are swanning around the World, against the wishes of most Japanese, at a time of pandemic, in a quest for self-glory and an ego boost in the mindless pursuit of SPORT , while millions are dying of COVID and this jolly little jaunt has the obvious potential to be a super-spreader event.
    ….but hey, the show must go on !!! ?
    Cheers , G”)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Autocracy or democracy for Byron Shire?

The New Yorker Magazine recently wrote a quote from Mr Rupert Murdoch ‘The truth is authoritarian governments do work!’ Hold that thought. It has been...

Criminalising protest

In another Sstate government descent into criminalising protest, to protect their own government’s sabotage of a liveable planet, last Thursday new laws were passed...

Mullum pods

First, Hans Lovejoy’s article ‘emergency wedged’ was educational, factual and provided valuable information to the community. Michele Grant’s letter (27 July) was emotive overgeneralisations...

Flood residents get $650 from Lismore Council

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg today announced that 1,558 residents will receive a grant of $650 from the Lismore Flood Appeal.