Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeCultureBooksNew book highlights faces and voices of Sydney’s First Nations people

New book highlights faces and voices of Sydney’s First Nations people

If you want to learn more about the ongoing impact of colonisation on Indigenous Australians living in Sydney – and particularly those living and working around Redfern, Waterloo, Glebe and La Perouse – Yellamundie: Voices & Faces of First Nations People in Sydney is an excellent place to start.

Thirty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, including artists, firefighters, students, carers, pastors, activists, Stolen Generation survivors, teachers and community leaders, tell their stories and paint a sobering (though ultimately energising) picture of where we are in our journey towards reconciliation.

The photographs are lovely and project a strong message of resilience and determination.

Yellamundie is a Dharug word meaning “storyteller” and author Irish-Australian Michelle McGrath clearly earned the trust of her 30 co-authors in bringing their stories to life.

Michelle is a teaching assistant with Redfern Jarjum College, a school that educates urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. A number of the moving stories in Yellamundie are those of her colleagues and students.

Les is a Gamilaraay man from Coonabarabran who works at Jarjum College as a teacher and Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer. “When done well, being there for a kid can change lives,” he says. “You can change a life.”

‘We’re still here’

Mark is from the Yuwaalaraay people. He was removed from his parents when he was just a few months old.

He says, “This disconnection of families, the Stolen Generations, has caused layer upon layer of trauma for Aboriginal people … Through the assimilation policy, the Stolen Generations, they tried to breed us out, tried to make us fit in. But we’re still here, that’s the bottom line.”

Lua is a Wiradjuri woman who grew up in Dharug country near Toongabbie. She says, “It’s so important that we listen to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and really push for some common ground and universal recognition of past injustices, so we can move forward together as a country.”

Shane is from Redfern and has connections to the Bundjalung, Wannarua, Guringai and Yugembeh mobs. He says, “There’s a whole movement of people now trying to drive strength-based communities. You can feel it in Redfern. It has become a place of can-do. I just feel blessed and grateful that I’m part of that.”

Liam is a Gumbaynggirr man who says what has happened over the past 250 years needs to be talked about. “It all needs to come out and not be bubble-wrapped,” he says, “because what ends up happening is we’re hiding the truth, and then people don’t understand that a trauma that happened generations ago is still affecting us today.”

Blak Douglas, urban artist and Archibald Prize winner for “Moby Dickens” in 2022, says, “Schoolkids today should know about the massacres and the slavery, to acknowledge the injustices that were caused. Paul Keating’s Redfern speech is a great place to start.”

To assist the education of young and old, Yellamundie offers helpful resources to read and to watch, as well a list of links to resources for teachers – including an excerpt from Keating’s influential speech.

_______________

Yellamundie: Voices & Faces of First Nations People in Sydney
Michelle McGrath (author) and Garry Purchase (artist/illustrator)
$34.95 soft cover, $39.95 hard cover
Buy Yellamundie on the website, Amazon, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble. All profits to Redfern Jarjum College.
https://www.yellamundie.com.au/

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img

Tenants have their say about Waterloo

In the first half of 2023, at community events, online and through government and non-government agencies, tenants had opportunity to provide their views as part of the Waterloo Public Housing Tenant Survey.

Volunteers’ News – June 2024

Volunteers’ News – June 2024.

Living with dementia – a carer’s journey: 5. Psychotic episodes

One evening in May 2020, Stuart suddenly felt freezing cold. I checked his vital signs, all seemed to be within the normal range. In the following days and weeks, gradually the symptoms became more frequent. He would start with feeling cold, then roll onto the floor, shivering, holding his head saying “you are hitting me”, “it hurts”.

Crown Princess Mary Scholarship: how a Sydney student met Denmark’s Queen

When University of Sydney student Sophia Parada began her degree in 2020, she feared the pandemic would derail her dreams of studying abroad. In late May, at a ceremony in Denmark, she shook hands with Queen Mary as she accepted a scholarship to study at the University of Copenhagen.

Jan de Voogd’s legacy of compassion

Jan de Voogd was a Quaker peace activist, musician, teacher, sailor and boat builder who lived in Sydney. Born in Japan to Dutch parents, Jan spoke several languages. His work for peace spanned more than 50 years.

Volunteers rule!

Counterpoint Community Services hosted its 18th Redfern and Waterloo Volunteer Awards at the Alexandria Town Hall on May 22. The event was part of National Volunteer Week.