Tony Smith
Language: English

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Historians have barely begun to document the terrible effects on Aboriginal people of the European invasion of Australia since 1788. One problem is that the European approach to evidence relies heavily on written documents. Indigenous memory on the other hand is found in oral narratives. This song tells the story of a massacre in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales and of the conflict over what counts as evidence. It is time we abandoned our patronising attitudes and acknowledged the validity of Indigenous epistemology.
© Tony Smith 2017

Some young men escaped
The tightening noose
Bounding through the scrub
Like startled kangaroos

But the old men, women and kids
Went to their deaths on the rocks

Did they fall or were they pushed?
People whose home was the bush
Seldom a false step did they make
Never a wrong turn would they take

Some still deny what happened
Although it was the same at Appin
Of Bells Falls Gorge on the tablelands
They wash their righteous hands

They ask for proof of the whiteman’s kind
It must be written to their mind
But who will give the true accounts
Not those men on their murdering mounts

The proof is in the spoken word
By generations often heard
Around the fires where tales are told
By those young warriors bold

The proof is in the haunted faces
Of visitors to these tragic places
Where restless spirits trouble you
Seeking justice over due

Contributed by Tony Smith - 2018/12/29 - 22:20

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