In the present blog, Nicole tells her Story and describes her connection to this Cultural Tour.
‘Several years ago, I encountered the concept of dadirri. I felt very moved as soon as I heard Miriam Rose Ungunmerr Baumann's words describing the healing aspects of dadirri...'the sound of deep calling to deep'.
To me, this is what the upcoming Cultural Connection Tour in Nauiyu is all about - to be involved is a 'deep calling to deep'. I hear and am responding to the invitation to connect with myself, others and the land.
In 2006, I attended at large group conference called WorldWork in Collaroy, a Northern beaches suburb of Sydney, Australia. Worldwork is an experiential training seminar in conflict work and community building that takes place usually every two years somewhere in the world.
To cut a long and interesting story short, I was surprised to discover, by synchronicity, a gravesite on the site of this Conference centre which marked the graves of my Ancestors.
Until this time I had no conscious awareness about my Ancestry beyond a few stories about my great grandparents. Finding the gravesite led me to discover that I am a 7th generation Anglo-Australian woman along my Motherline. This new awareness initiated a powerful journey of exploration of themes such as:
COLONISATION DEEP DEMOCRACY ANCESTORS
RANK AND POWER AUSTRALIAN CONTEXT
INTERCONNECTEDNESS LAND GRIEF
INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS RELATIONSHIPS
PERSONAL STORIES DISPOSSESSION DREAMING
BEING PERSONAL IN PUBLIC LOSS BELONGING
CONNECTION TO LAND SHAME AND GUILT HEALING
ONE-SIDEDNESS FEELING STUCK BECOMING MORE WHOLE
I have written in depth about this journey in my final thesis for a Diploma of Process Oriented Psychology. I will attach it here for anyone interested in reading more: Deep Democracy in the Australian Context - a personal journey with ancestry.
Encountering these themes is inevitable and I believe being with them is the responsibility of non-Aboriginal people; a responsibility and a great opportunity!
Along the way, I have realised the crucial importance of acknowledging and working through unconscious shame and guilt that I was experiencing as an Anglo Australian. I continue to explore what it looks like/feels like and how I can move through shame and guilt, as well as grief, in a way that is respectful to ourselves, my own Ancestors, and Aboriginal people today and their Ancestors.
I believe it is vital to do this work if we desire a sense of deep connection and belonging with ourselves, our history, with Aboriginal people who are the custodians of this land we live on, and the land itself.
Belonging is central to wellbeing. This type of wellbeing is vital to me. I am interested and prepared to continue to support myself as well as others in this journey.
After I finished writing my thesis in 2012, I decided, with my family, that it was time to explore Australia and continue the journey of connection. In April 2014, we took off on a six- month road trip, camping throughout Northern Territory and Western Australia.
One night when we were camping literally in the middle of the country, at a place called Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve, we met another family who were also travelling. After some time doing our own thing, we made small talk and soon it became obvious that this new connection was a special one.
The woman (Pip Gordon) indicated that her family were travellling up north to an Indigenous Festival, the Merrepen Arts Festival in Nauiyu. We were also heading to an Indigenous Festival, the Barunga Festival near Katherine, which was scheduled for a few weeks later.
I was determined to find a woman in Barunga whose image had been sent to me by a friend in the final stages of writing my thesis. I found the image incredibly supportive at the time and I then spent nearly nine months seeking permission to use the image in my thesis. I consequently did find and meet Margaret Oenpelli in 2014 at the Barunga Festival.
Pip said she was heading to reconnect with some people in Nauiyu she'd met before. I asked, “Who?” She said, "Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann", and I said ""Öh yeah, dadirri".
And so it was that we found ourselves standing in the desert, no longer strangers in one sense to one another, connected now through dadirri. It was a MEETING... I had a palpable knowing feeling in my body that this synchronistic meeting was leading me further along what I think of now as my spiritual path of heart.
Together with my family, I travelled to Nauiyu to spend time with the Gordon family, their friends from Coffs Harbour and the people of Nauiyu.
When I met Miriam, I felt again that I had been called there by my dreaming path, or spirit. It was the spirit of dadirri that had called me there to Nauiyu and continues to. This is a deep healing for myself and I believe for my culture and relationships between cultures. I am simply following my path of heart now and will do my utmost to support this vision of connectivity and healing.
The time is now. In the words of Miriam:
If there is connection from that deep inner spring, Dadirri, that spirit within all of us, we can find that commonality. Perhaps we can find healing.
Maybe this is Reconciliation (Real-conciliation)?”