Culture

‘I Knew In My Gut, That Singing The Anthem Wasn’t A Reflection Of My History.’

Lawyer, activist and Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, Teela Reid spoke to Future Women about the Black Lives Matter movement, the Walama Court and the history, truth and experience of First Nations People in Australia.

By Jordaine Chattaway

Culture

Lawyer, activist and Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, Teela Reid spoke to Future Women about the Black Lives Matter movement, the Walama Court and the history, truth and experience of First Nations People in Australia.

By Jordaine Chattaway

Can we start with the fact that – in the physical world – our public events would always start with an ‘acknowledgement to country’. How important is it for us to continue this as Covid-19 drives the world into a digital era? Unless you are actively working in your business to dismantle colonialism; unless you’re actively working in your families to speak truth, injustice about the history of this country (then) that conversation has to start with an acknowledgement. The more non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people that acknowledge that this land was taken without treaty; without voice; without consent (we will) then turn our minds to the deeper issue that we need to discuss when we’re engaging.

You called for a year of reckoning, not reconciliation in your essay for the Griffith Review recently. Can you tell us more about that? The way in which reconciliation has been implemented in Australia has been sugar-coated. It’s been lip service. It’s been “sorry” speeches. It’s been Reconciliation Action Plans. And what it hasn’t been is it hasn’t delivered on truth and justice for blakfullas. It hasn’t delivered ‘pay the rent’ for land that’s been stolen, and it hasn’t, clearly, delivered accountability for black lives that have been lost in custody or justice in the criminal justice system where we’re seeing our mob being incarcerated at the highest rate. 

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*This is an edited version of an extended interview. To watch the original Facebook Live interview hosted by Jamila Rizvi go to the Future Women – Members Only Facebook page and search: Teela Reid.

You’ve hit the glass ceiling. And our paywall.

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