Healing the land as practiced by Buderim SAILS.

In Australia there has been a collective denial and amnesia about the brutal dispossession of the Indigenous people from the time of first settlement.  Australians celebrate overseas wars enthusiastically on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day etc but resolutely ignore the local, undeclared, frontier wars.

Our calling is to remembering and truth telling aboutAustralia’s Indigenous past, mainly within the non Indigenous community.  This has developed out of a lifelong prayerful attachment to a piece of family land, a commitment to environmental conservation, and a wish to participate in Indigenous reconciliation. We have been joined by a diverse group of people with a variety of skills.    Each participant brings an equally important gift to the process. We work as a group of lay people under the auspices of SAILS which is a program of the Brisbane Anglican Diocese

This is a summary of our current practice.

We read and research local history and the history of the places where our ancestors lived and apologize for our part in past and present wrongs.

We visit massacre sites and Indigenous sacred sites prayerfully.

We celebrate evidence of Indigenous reconciliation.

We tell the stories of the local Indigenous history to the non Indigenous community at every opportunity. Members have commissioned a local history and the making ofDVD’s for public education.  We have written articles for the paper, conducted community sorry services, organized memorial plaques, hosted gatherings of local Indigenous people, joined the local historical society, advocated for the formal recognition of traditional owners on public occasions, organized their participation in community events, handed out Indigenous flags at community events, bought land to be used for reconciliation etc. We are trying to collect and record oral histories from people who have lived in the area for a long time.

We go to pray in troubled places when we are asked to.  When people tell us about seeing or being troubled by Aboriginal spirits, we listen respectfully. We go as a group to pray at the place where the spirits have been seen or heard.  When we pray for places we usually continue to visit afterwards until our informant or the visionaries in our group say that the problem is resolved.

We sometimes have services and gatherings in churches but more often conduct our own informal gatherings with whoever is interested at the place we are praying for. We are an ecumenical group and search for common ground with people of other faiths and no faith. We welcome anyone with the same intention to join us.  Before a gathering we prepare a service appropriate to the place and occasion. We discuss the content with participants beforehand.  We commonly attend the eucharist before going to pray at a place. Sometimes a communion service is celebrated as part of the service, depending on the participants. We always acknowledge the traditional owners. We say sorry and specify the details of the local injustices. We assist the landowner to write and say their own personal sorrys.  We always say thankyou. We always pray for the land to be blessed. We always pray for the local people mentioning them by name.  We provide written supporting historical material.

We believe that there is great value in individuals researching their own family history and making a specific apology for the role of their ancestors in the mistreatment of Aboriginal people. At our gatherings we give everyone present an opportunity to participate by for example saying their family name and the district they come from or naming a particular place they wish to pray for and as they do so placing a symbolic token in the sacred space.

If the Indigenous people tell us to mind our own business we do so by repenting of our own sins, the sins of our families, our ancestors, and our people against the Indigenous people.  We do this unobtrusively on land of which we are the current custodians, in public places, or at the request of landowners.

If the Indigenous people wish to hear our apologies we read them out in their presence.  If not we say them to each other and to God.

If the Indigenous people ask us to join with them in attending to troubled places, we do so gladly and consider it an honour.  This is happening increasingly.

Heather Johnston and Sue Pitt 13.9.12

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.