Despite centuries of injustice and deprivation, tribal people have opened up horizons of possibilities before them.
On 13 February 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, on behalf of the entire country, made a formal apology to Aboriginal people for their ‘past mistreatment’. In fact, new plans have also been adopted along with special allocations for the development of First Nations.
Let’s end the article with an incident from our Qantas flight. We flew from Sydney to Alice Springs on 17 August. It was a 3 hours 20 minutes flight. At noon as we were about to land, the pilots announced: “Dear passengers, we will soon land in Alice Springs, the ancestral land of the Aranda people.”
We later learned, at the beginning of any significant event in Australia, public or private, tribute is paid to the contributions and traditions of First Nations ancestors. Four days later as we flew from Alice Springs to Darwin, the pilot again announced that we were landing on the ancestral lands of the Larrakia First Nations.
No matter how formal or small this recognition is, it is by no means trivial for a community that has suffered the brunt of deprivation and oppression for centuries. This opens doors to new possibilities in the world.
*Sanjib Drong is a columnist and cultural activist