Posted on January 27 2020
The following is the speech given by Rosemary Wanganeen at the Australia Day Smoking Ceremony, 26 January 2020
I too would like to acknowledge and thank our distinguished guests for taking part in this ceremony.
And equally important, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for also taking part in this ceremony.
Embracing each and every one of you, thank you all for coming along this morning to part-take in this exceptional day of acknowledging January 26th 2020, Australia Day, the Smoking Ceremony and the Mourning in the Morning.
And a deep respect and thank you to Moogy and Freddy for your deeply spiritual Welcome to Kaurna Country that invokes all our Spiritual Ancestors for all corners of Mother Earth!
It is such an honor and a privilege to acknowledge again with love, honor and respect our Ancestry and Ancestors who endured such unimaginable grief pain and suffering.
Moreover, as I highlighted last year, January 26 known as Australia Day is a day that continues to be very painful and contentious for some and a day for celebration for some.
And as we gather here this morning for the 2nd Mourning in the Morning it could be acknowledged and respected as a deep and meaningful third category where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people gather to mourn what happened to both groups of our Spiritual Ancestors during and after the arrival of 1788.
In the little time we have together, I would like to have a heart-to-heart about the concept of an invasion that can be described by one group of people and the concept of colonisation that can be described by another group of people.
And this heart-to-heart is not about shaming or blaming or neglecting another.
On this day, I want to use this time to communicate to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians that an invasion, that became known as a colonisation did not ‘just’ occur on this continent in 1788!
Invasions known as colonisation occurred across Europe before 1788 arrived on this continent!
History shows, it was just a matter of time before they arrived on the shores of what was Roman Britannia in 43AD. Today, known as England!
History also shows, in all four directions the Roman Empire devised beliefs, concepts, understandings and practices relating to invasions which became known as colonisations across and down the generations.
And I reiterate not to shame or blame or neglect anyone but to bring to the non-Aboriginal Australian consciousness that you all have a moral right, a role and a responsibility to love, honour and respect your Ancestry and Ancestors who also endured such unimaginable grief pain and suffering, in their own right before 1788 arrived upon the shores of this continent!
By not mourning and acknowledging your Ancestry and Ancestors over the last 2,000yrs disconnects and robs you of their unimaginable grief pain and suffering and I fear has locked some into ‘grief guilt’ and or ‘grief anger’ for what happened to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, when the invasion that became known as a colonisation ‘arrived’ on these shores in 1788.
I need to believe we’re gathered here again at this Smoking Ceremony’s Mourning in the Morning to acknowledge each other, knowing we as all Australians are deeply grieved for what happened to our Ancestors pre and post ‘arrival’ of 1788.
I would close off from this part of our history by saying: invasions that became known as a colonisation down the generations has become learnt behaviour!
Today this very contemporary Mourning in the Morning Smoking Ceremony is about healing us, the descendants of our Ancestors!
So, let us walk through this Smoking Ceremony ‘in the spirit of welcome, recognition and reconciliation’. And as Joel stated, ‘a smoking ceremony is one of the oldest cultural practices of cleansing and healing’ and I would add ‘from the beginning of time, for all of humanity’.
We owe our ancestors to stand in our moral rights, roles and responsibility to grieve, heal and be inspired to forgive the atrocities of the past, together!
I believe this is how we will truly reconcile with each other as human beings because in unity we will have no fears of each other; we will emerge as the real one nation of peoples, under our Great Southern Cross!
A deep and meaningful reconciliation recognizes our humanity, and in our humanity, we are the same, but we’ll respect our differences!
As I conclude, I thank you so much for listening and would you please stand if you can and join me in a 1minute silence in honor of our ancestry and ancestors and before we participate in it, please remember that every living human being on this planet is standing on the shoulders of our ancestry and ancestors.
So, in our 1min silence, remember your ancestors who lived and died for us wherever that took place upon Mother Earth.
Give thanks to them because we would not be here without them, period!
Please join us in the one-minute silence.
Thank you, and when it comes time to walk through the Smoking Ceremony for cleansing and healing, could I suggest we all walk through in silence as we remember our Ancestors as we give thanks to them, for our being alive and present here today.
When you have your Ancestry and Ancestors in your heart you can be alone, but never lonely!
Thank you, Australia Day Council SA and thank you all for being here!