Messages of Hope

Always was, always will be (NAIDOC Week 2020)

Published / by Sandy

NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that Australia’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations peoples.
NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country – a history which dates back thousands of generations.
It’s about seeing, hearing and learning the First Nations’ 65,000+ year history of this country – which is Australian history. We want all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and to recognise that our sovereignty was never ceded.

Always was
Always will be
The Lands I walk on
And the Lands that walk within me

To know the history of First Peoples
Is to know the importance of place,
To know what being on country is,
Is to know and feel the connection

To want to hear the stories and feel the stories is our call to all,
To want to know and hear the Lands
as a gift, to our being and knowing,
To know and hear from First Peoples, is how we as First and
Second Peoples are called to the growing

To know the significance and compass that abounds us,
as First Peoples through place,
is to know our links to the Land surpasses all time and space

But in knowing that connection
Is to know and reflect on, dispossession and its true realisation,
To hear the Land relation, is a call to know
and reflect on the impacts of invasion and colonisation

What is country, what is milaythina ningee (Mother Earth) in the
now and in the forever time for First Peoples?

Stolen lands,
At the colonisers hands,
Stolen connection,
By forced removals,
Under the myth of protection.

The Land is us,
And we are the Land
Imagine and reflect on what happens when that is taken away?
May our Churches and agencies discern,
For it is in Nature’s classroom that we truly learn
Learn the struggle and the survival of a people and place in realisation,
Hear the cries of our people at the hands of colonisation

Reflect on Always was Always will be,
Not in words, but in action too
And embrace the message to unlearn and be free,
Not just in words but in hearts, souls and spirits too
And reflect on the privilege of the Land walked on and with:

Know its stories
Feel its stories
Feel its call
And feel its heart

The Land is my compass
It connects me
It connects me to place past present and future too
It’s who I am
It’s who we are as First Peoples
And in the discerning of justice for Land return,
It’s the knowing of the importance of Place,
The healing of Place is the place to Learn.

It’s in knowing this connection to Land, through this lens of
discernment the true lessons are learned
Honour the land and the stories
sitting within Country wherever you may be,
And be in the knowing and the growing of:

Always Was
Always Will Be
As you gather

Can you hear the stories of place?
And as you walk and gather and stand?

Can you hear the connection in the forever time
of First Peoples’ Connection to Land?

Walk it
Feel it
Know it
Hear it
Honour it
Sit and be

With what it means to truly honour,
The words “Always was, Always will be”

Alison Overeem, UAICC Tasmania
Leprena
November 2020, NAIDOC week

Alison also included specific reference to Lutrawita (Tasmania):
In Lutrawita, the 9 Nations of our ancestors
lived in harmony with the Land,
The Land is us,
And we are the Land
Imagine and reflect on what happens when that is taken away?
Declaration of “The Black War” here in Tasmanian must be told and must be heard,
The impacts of broken Treaties must be learned.