5th July 2013
There was a cold wind as I set up the vigil this evening (though not as strong as the winds Thea and Lane sat in last night!). The candles kept blowing out. Lucky I had the battery operated ones.
Yes, I was setting up the vigil and a woman and man stopped and watched for a while. ‘Who did that?’ said the woman, referring to the sign that speaks respect to Jaara people and their country. ‘I did’, I said. Silence. ‘Thank you’, said the woman.
‘My name’s Janet’ – I held out my hand. ‘I’m Paulette’, she held my hand, ‘Paulette Nelson’ she added.
Paulette it was so good to meet you this evening. Thank you for the stories and conversation. Thank you for your thank you.
Paulette Nelson is Uncle Brien Nelson’s daughter and sister to Rick Nelson. She is a Jaara woman and mother.
We kissed and hugged each other and as Paulette and her friend Dave left she said, (referring to the vigil sign that is a public acknowledgement of Jaara people and their country), ‘This means so much to me. You can’t know how much this means’.
Our meeting began tonight’s vigil warmly. As I sat on the steps I thought of how this small gesture, this sign, could have such an impact. And I thought too of how this signals how little public recognition there is of this town, Castlemaine, being in Jaara Jaara country; of how little respect there has been – now and over centuries – of the rightful place of Jaara Jaara people in their country, of the rightful place of Jaara history and knowledges. I found this humbling and troubling.
Tonight I will give you a poem – written in 2005 – by a person incarcerated in Baxter Detention Centre. The poem is marked, Anonymous, and was published in ‘Poems from Baxter’ — a collection published by the Refugee Action Centre, 2005.
Make a whistle from my throat
I do not know
what will happen after I die.
I do not want to know.
But I would like the Potter to make a whistle
from the clay of my throat.
May this whistle fall into the hands
of a cheeky and naughty child
and the child to blow hard on the whistle continuously
with the suppressed and silent air of his lungs
and disrupt the sleep
of those who seem dead
to my cries.
Tomorrow evening 6th July I will be sitting on the steps of the Market Building in Mostyn St from 5pm – 6.30 pm. The Prior family (wife and children of Barry Prior of whom I’ve written) will be joining me. Come along and sign the petition. Sit for a while should you wish.