Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920 - 1993)

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PostSun Sep 16, 2012 3:12 pm » by Webcat


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Oodgeroo Noonuccal was born Kathleen Jean Mary Ruska on November 3rd 1920. She was an aboriginal native woman of Australia. She's regarded as a fine poet and was also a committed social activist for native rights.

Today (16th September) is the anniversary of her passing in 1993. Her poetry and her legacy for social committment and justice remain.

http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/noonuccal-oodgeroo

This quote from the official Australian Web site for her:

Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal, known until 1988 as Kath Walker, was born Kathleen Jean Mary Ruska on 3 November 1920, on North Stradbroke Island in South-East Queensland, one of seven children of Edward (Ted) Ruska and his wife Lucy (née McCulloch). Her father, who belonged to the Noonuccal people, the traditional inhabitants of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), was employed by the Queensland government as part of a poorly-paid Aboriginal workforce; his campaigning for better conditions for Aboriginal workers left a strong impression on his daughter.

She attended Dunwich State School until 1933, when, at the age of 13, she left to take up work as a domestic servant in Brisbane. Working for a number of different families in the 1930s, she was paid poorly but remained in domestic service because of the strong prejudices against and lack of opportunities open to Aboriginal women.

In 1941 she enlisted in the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS), earning promotion to corporal and working in switchboard operations and later in the AWAS pay office.


She wrote many books, beginning with We Are Going (1964), the first book to be published by an Aboriginal woman. The title poem concludes:

The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place.
The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going.



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"Jordie Albiston (1961- ) reads "No More Boomerang" by Oodgeroo Noonuccal (nee Kath Walker, 1920-1993) & her own "Missing Him"

An interesting little story here:

She was a key figure in the campaign for the reform of the Australian constitution to allow Aboriginal people full citizenship, lobbying Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1965, and his successor Harold Holt in 1966. At one deputation in 1963, she taught Robert Menzies a lesson in the realities of Aboriginal life. After offering the deputation an alcoholic drink, he was startled to learn that in Queensland he could be jailed for doing the same thing.


And a somewhat ironic tale:

In 1974 Noonuccal was aboard a British Airways flight that was hijacked by militants campaigning for Palestinian liberation. The hijackers shot a crew member and a passenger and forced the plane to fly to several different African destinations. During her three days in captivity, she used a blunt pencil and an airline sickbag from the seat pocket to write two poems, ‘Commonplace’ and ‘Yusuf (Hijacker)’.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oodgeroo_Noonuccal



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"Don Featherstone's short film on Indigenous Australian poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal. Warning: this video contains images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people."

http://www.notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-Mi-So/Noonuccal-Oodgeroo.html

A trust was established in February of 1994 with the goal of continuing Oodgeroo's work toward an understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Oodgeroo Noonuccal has been described by those who knew her as "direct," "impassioned," "deeply committed," "charismatic," and "controversial." She spoke and wrote bluntly about the mistreatment of her people, so much so that she frequently ruffled the feathers of her many readers while trying to open their eyes. In Stradbroke Dreamtime (1972), she described her girlhood home as a place "stocked with natural beauty … [with] ferns and flowers growing in abundance [and] white miles of sand stretching as far as the eye could see."

In the same piece, she lamented the fact that "Stradbroke is dying. The birds and animals are going. The trees and flowers are being pushed aside and left to die," and assured the reader that "greedy, thoughtless, stupid, ignorant man … will suffer. His ruthless bulldozers are digging his own grave." Mudrooroo, an Aboriginal intellectual, coined the term poetemics to describe Noonuccal, whom he identified more as a polemicist than a poet.


Considering the damage being done to our world in the name of profit and greed, we need more like her.

The destruction of native cultures continues worldwide, in South America, in the far east and elsewhere.

"And we are going."

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PostSun Sep 16, 2012 3:34 pm » by Kinninigan


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Nice thread and welcome to dtv :hiho:


we are looking for good thread posters, keep them coming Paradise Jones!
















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PostSun Sep 16, 2012 5:02 pm » by Webcat


Kinninigan wrote::)



Nice thread and welcome to dtv :hiho:


we are looking for good thread posters, keep them coming Paradise Jones!


Thanks Kinninigan :flop:

I believe people like Oodgeroo should be remembered and the anniversary of her passing was appropriate to post on.

Wonderful quote from her:

"We cannot own the land. We are but the custodians of the land. "


And one I love personally: (not by Oodgeroo).

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. "
ABORIGINAL PROVERB.
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PostSun Sep 16, 2012 5:12 pm » by Seriouscitizen


"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. "
ABORIGINAL PROVERB.


Sorry but I disagree with your quote. Because that is the biggest disclaimer used, ever, to stop people from being sovereign and stepping up in reality. You find a claim like this in every religion. And all it does it tell you, well don't worry about the trivial things on earth. Heaven is waiting for you on the other site. While the ones controlling everything laugh and continue pulling strings of a zombie nation.

Besides that, good post! and welcome :flop:

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PostSun Sep 16, 2012 6:36 pm » by Webcat


Seriouscitizen wrote:
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home. "
ABORIGINAL PROVERB.


Sorry but I disagree with your quote. Because that is the biggest disclaimer used, ever, to stop people from being sovereign and stepping up in reality. You find a claim like this in every religion. And all it does it tell you, well don't worry about the trivial things on earth. Heaven is waiting for you on the other site. While the ones controlling everything laugh and continue pulling strings of a zombie nation.

Besides that, good post! and welcome :flop:


Thanks for that reply, I used that quote to further illustrate the mind-set of the aboriginal people with regard to land ownership, But I do like the idea of a religious disclaimer. Can you imagine a caution/warning in holy books, or a sign outside a church or mosque stating that "organised religion can seriously damage your spirit/soul."

Coming back to your comments, the aboriginal people are getting some of their tribal lands back and maybe they should have taken land onwership seriously, like the settlers did.

Except they had boomerangs, spears and clubs and the settlers had rifles and horses.

Same old story when a 'higher' civilisation crashes into a 'primative' one.

Land grab, murder and conquest.

Sad, But I do like her poetry. :flop:
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PostMon Sep 17, 2012 1:27 pm » by Webcat


"We Are Going" by Oodgeroo Noonuccal

'They came in to the little town
A semi-naked band subdued and silent
All that remained of their tribe.
They came here to the place of their old bora ground
Where now the many white men hurry about like ants.
Notice of the estate agent reads: 'Rubbish May Be Tipped Here'.
Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring.
'We are as strangers here now, but the white tribe are the strangers.
We belong here, we are of the old ways.
We are the corroboree and the bora ground,
We are the old ceremonies, the laws of the elders.
We are the wonder tales of Dream Time, the tribal legends told.
We are the past, the hunts and the laughing games, the wandering camp fires.
We are the lightening bolt over Gaphembah Hill
Quick and terrible,
And the Thunderer after him, that loud fellow.
We are the quiet daybreak paling the dark lagoon.
We are the shadow-ghosts creeping back as the camp fires burn low.
We are nature and the past, all the old ways
Gone now and scattered.
The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place.
The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going.'

This site has an interesting commentary on Australian Aboriginal Poetry. A piece written by Adam shoemaker.

http://epress.anu.edu.au/bwwp/mobile_devices/ch08.html

In this chapter, examples of the entire range of Aboriginal verse are examined in order to illustrate the diversity and talent of contemporary Black Australian poets.

The author considers the political involvement and stance of these writers as well as the particular social conditions in which they live – which is often addressed in their work.

The achievements of Indigenous Australian poets are compared to the writings of White Australian poets – such as Les Murray and Bruce Dawe – who have an apparent understanding of Aboriginal culture. To emphasise the Fourth World dimension and oral predisposition of Australian Aboriginal verse, the writing is contrasted with the poetry of contemporary Canadian Indian writers.

I would rather see Aborigines write a book called Kargun than pick up a shotgun.

I always believe that the old axiom, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is really true. And I always like to modernise that phrase by saying, ‘the biro is far far better than the gun’!


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Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1920 - 1993)

http://www.portrait.gov.au/site/collection_info.php?searchtype=browse&searchstring=Photography&irn=1682&acno=2010.17&onshow=no
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