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Reflection - Phil Cornish, 2 June 2021


"Last Thursday, on the anniversary of the 1967 referendum on recognising indigenous people in the constitution with right to be counted, I was on a tour taking in places in Kakadu and later the lands of the Larakia people in Darwin. One of the highlights for me was a short boat trip up the East Alligator River which is the boundary between Kakadu and Arnhem Land.

Land navigated, hosted and narrated really by a young man from Arnhem Land speaking to us in his 3rd language, English.  We disembarked on the Arnhem Land side for a period in which he demonstrated his skills with his personally manufactured spears and woomera, replete with Crocodile tooth. We would say in Melbourne, an artisan spear. Watching the demonstration I think part of my soul soared with the spear in flight across the river synthesizing ancient knowledge with youthful vigour.

While in Kakadu and with our Arnhem Land guide, I heard no mention of resilience or issues, although I’m sure they exist. I saw hard work and pride in the skills and knowledge in the communities. I heard joy in voices talking about their land and tradition.  And for a glimpse of regional strengths I am very thankful and for the work that Rotary does in parts of the NT and central Australia."

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