Monday, May 11

Kanyini – a culture lost in dispossession

Photo of Aboriginal elder Bob Randall

You threw me a line called Welfare, but
it’s not as good as what I had … the
chaos and sadness we are feeling now
is a result of our history … Open truth
will set us free, not hidden truth.

Just over a year ago Grumpy Old Journo introduced a post (April 8: "Kanyini – understanding Aboriginal culture") with the image and the lines above. The post went on to say:

Bob Randall (pictured top), a respected elder . . . explains how dispossession has brought so much misery to his people:

Now we’re stuck between two cultures, two worlds; we can’t go back to the old ways because the natural environment has been destroyed. Nothing is there in its natural state anymore. We can’t get into your system because many of us don’t understand it. Hardly anyone has the skills to operate in your culture; they don’t have the education and reading skills to understand your ways and culture … so much money has been spent on an education system that isn’t working … it’s a failure. We need to consider new ways of teaching to incorporate old and new … so my mob can feel pride.

The best way to listen to Uncle Bob is to view the film Kanyini, and to hear him explain the meaning of the word. In the Pitjantjatjara language of central Australia, it means connectedness – to a belief system, to spirituality, to land and to family.

It's a remarkable documentary. For its 53 minutes, it hit my emotional buttons so strongly I worried whether I could write a proper assessment.

I've re-read that post a number of times, and I believe my comments were sound. Perhaps you'd care to read my critique, then make up your own mind by viewing the film.

Lane Cove Residents for Reconciliation has arranged a Sydney screening of Kanyini on Tuesday, June 2, in the Cove Room, Lane Cove Civic Centre, 48 Longueville Rd (cnr Epping Rd), Lane Cove.

The film's director, Melanie Hogan, will speak, along with Masada High School (St Ives) student participants in the Kanyini Schools Program.

The invite says 7.00 for 7.30pm-9.30pm. All Welcome - Refreshments - No Bookings Necessary - Admission Free.


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