Our First Australians

Recently I wrote two stories about Indigenous people – one about Koori Education for ‘The Age’ and another about Indigenous artist Eileen Harrison for ‘Gippsland Country Life’ magazine.

The experience of engaging with Indigenous Australians to write these features has been an incredibly enlightening one.

Our First Australians are beautiful people who have the oldest surviving culture in the world. They have a spiritual connection to their environment that goes beyond our own understanding and their values and stories are quite wonderful.

We have lived alongside these amazing people now for more than two hundred years, yet we still know so little about them, and racism against them is still an enormous problem, as is ignorance. One non-indigenous person I spoke to told me they should go back to their own country. Wow!

How can we be truly Australian and not know and value our Indigenous people and their culture. It’s a rich part of our country’s heritage and one we should embrace, nurture, protect and honour.

Equality is not about being the same, but having equal rights. Our indigenous people are different to us, they live differently and they perceive things differently but this is something we can all learn a great deal from rather than reject.  Our Australian history should now include our Aboriginal history and their story.

Gippsland Koori artist Eileen Harrison tells her story in her highly sought after, stunning works of art. She is a beautiful person and her story is both sad and remarkable.