We acknowledge that the country we now call Australia was built on the stolen lands of hundreds of Indigenous nations, each with their own unique language, culture and traditions. As a direct result of the invasion and colonisation of these lands, hundreds of thousands of Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their lands, placed into indefinite custody or put to death. the Aboriginal people were not permitted to speak their own language or practise their cultures for generations, resulting in losses of language and timeless knowledge; rupturing spiritual connections that were over 60,000 years old.
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 force and through violence. This interconnectedness, this understanding, this spiritual bond, was ignored and left unacknowledged. 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 and land was cut up and divided amongst settlers.
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 that we refuse to ignore or overlook. 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 and the repercussions of living on this land without proper welcome or a treaty in place is a dissonance that screams to be healed.
The colonisation and the removal from lands that are valuable to mining companies is still happening. The cultural appropriation of art, symbols and symbolisms for the benefit of the Australian economy, tourism, bourgeoise art galleries and other forms of benefit to the coloniser are still continuing. The culling of basic human rights left unnoticed because of 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 land who remain on country exist in Third World country conditions; mistreated, abused, killed in custody with little to zero repercussions, and still moved on and communities forcibly shut down when mining companies show interest in an area of land.
These are endemic issues within Australian society that we must look at. When our entire way of life is based on a systematised act of rape, it is inevitable that racism is bred and ignorance is fed. The custodians of this land were overpowered by way of sheer force, the colonisers took what was not theirs to take, and still to this day we continue to partake in the privilege and benefit of this act without consideration of the overpowered and the oppressed. And we have to acknowledge that this is rape. We have to acknowledge that buying and selling land that was not ours to own, building bridges and roads, cutting mines into the earth while we still have no treaty or acknowledgement of First Nations Peoples, is the perpetuation and reinforcement of rape culture.
Newkind acknowledges that sovereignty has never been ceded, and we will continue to work within our communities to decolonise our education system, the media, the arts and our society at large. 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 they are the rightful, traditional, original owners and continuing custodians of the land on which we gather. We acknowledge Elders past, present, and emerging.
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.