We acknowledge that this country we now call Australia was built on the stolen lands of hundreds of Indigenous nations, each with their own unique language, culture and tradition. As a direct result of the invasion and colonisation of these lands, hundreds of thousands of Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their lands or put to death. the Aboriginal people were not permitted to speak their own language or practise their cultures, resulting in losses of language and knowledge, and rupturing 60,000-year-old spiritual connections.
The Aboriginal peoples of these lands are known to be the longest continuing cultures on Earth. The connection of Indigenous peoples to the land is strong here, as it was in all places colonised by The West. This interconnectedness, this understanding, this spiritual bond, was ignored and Indigenous Australians were not only slaughtered, tortured, raped and imprisoned, but also removed from lands they had been connected to for tens of thousands of years. Families were destroyed, women were raped, children were stolen from their parents.
The privileges that we enjoy each and every day in this country, came at a heavy cost to the Indigenous peoples of these lands, and this is a fact, this is a history that has not been fully acknowledged or recognised in our schools, universities nor the media. This trauma has not yet been sufficiently addressed nor has it healed, the injustice is being perpetuated to this day.
The colonisation and the removal from lands that are valuable to mining companies is still happening. The cultural appropriation for the benefits of Australian tourism, arts and cultural organisations that benefit the coloniser is ongoing. The culling of basic human rights because of their distance and isolation both physically and in the mediascape means that we are living in our own apartheid state, where the Indigenous peoples of this place largely exist in Third World country conditions; mistreated, abused and killed in custody with little to zero repercussions.
Newkind acknowledges that sovereignty has never been ceded, and we work within our communities to decolonise our education system, the media, arts and our society as a whole. We exist in solidarity with Indigenous communities and move together towards establishing recognition, treaty, self-determination and representation in the governance of this land. We work and collaborate towards an active and vibrant representation of Aboriginal language, culture, and philosophy.
Newkind Festival takes place on lands within the Paredarerme language group, for which we are grateful. We acknowledge and pay respects to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community as the traditional and original owners, and continuing custodians of this land on which we gather. We acknowledge Elders past and present, and members of Australia’s First Nations who gather with us towards social change.
Palawa Kani is the reconstruction of languages used by Tasmanian Aboriginal people today. Tasmanian Aboriginal people, as with all Indigenous peoples, have a distinctive and age-old connection with their ancestral lands and waters. They are custodians with particular responsibilities. When speaking of ‘Country’; this encompasses not only the land and water but also culture, knowledge, and the environment.
We would like to acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for their guidance and advice,
And also thank Catherine French for assistance and research in the preparation of this statement.