Late Tuesday night I was laying up in bed and had a feeling in my tummy that there was something I needed to do but I couldn’t quite remember what it was (Don’t you hate that!)
So, I got my ipad out, Unlocked the screen and low and behold my SBS on demand app was staring me straight in the face (Insert lightbulb here) “Ahhhhhh… That’s right, that doco was on tonight, I wonder if it has been uploaded? yet?!”
As I waited for the app to load it was the first thing that caught my attention:
First Contact S1 Ep1
As I waited anxiously for it to buff and load my heart started beating a little faster, the opening credits started flashing before my eyes and there was this haunting drum beat with a very ominous sound scape behind it that gave me instant goosebumps all up my arms and the back of my neck.
I was nervous… Why, you might ask?
Before i could even ask myself that question, Ray Martin’s voice fills my ears with a question I didn’t know if I wanted to hear the answer too;
“What do people really think about Aboriginal Australians?”
Was I nervous because I maybe didn’t want to hear some of the heartbreaking truth’s? “Maybe a little”
Was I nervous because maybe I had asked myself some of the same questions? “Yeah, I guess”
Was I nervous because at certain points in my life I have questioned my own Aboriginally? The person I am today? And the person I will grow to be? “Shit, yeah!”
Was I nervous because I was so out of touch with my culture as a kid? Always knowing in the back of my mind that I was half Aboriginal and had little knowledge of where my family was from but being so removed, being from a broken family and having a few questions that didn’t get answered until I took it upon myself to go on a journey back to my biological father’s country, my country in my late teens, but by then I was already a household name right around Australia and I had to have an important message to give out to young Indigenous youth then and there when they were the same age as me or younger.
Looking back I didn’t really know anything at all or have the answers I was only 16 and still finding my own feet in this crazy world still trying to identify with who I was. “It’s making me tear up just thinking about it!”
As I was introduced to the Travelers (Non Indigenous Australians):
Jasmine, Alice, Trent, Bo-Dene, Marcus and Sandy
I was definitely shocked by the first few minutes.
My first emotion was anger.
I shifted around in my bed to get comfortable as i realized I was gripping onto my pillow knowing that I was about to embark on this journey with these six “very opinionated” Travelers (non Indigenous Australian’s).
As we were introduced to the first two Aboriginal families in Sydney I had more moments of anger, frustration and un-comfort from the questions asked by the travelers. But I also had a moments of joy, smile’s and tears streaming down my face. Seeing the uncles tell and share their stories and to see how they are doing everything in their power to make their kids, their grandkids and their community have a bigger brighter future! I was hook, line and sinker into this first episode so much so that I felt like I travelled with them over 3,000km to Nyinyikay in Far North East Arnhem Land (Although that bubble burst when I saw that tiny little plane!)
As the travelers arrived into this extremely remote community I could sense the tension, the realisation that there were no shops, no cafes and that they would have to hunt and gather for their food and live off the land.
I was happy to see all the women taking part in trying to eat the mangrove worms, although my eyes were watering as they were sniffing them before they put them in their mouths (Rule of thumb, not a great idea to sniff before you eat)
It was also great to see the boys out in the fishing boat, hoping to catch a great feed, and sure enough they caught that turtle. But I don’t think they expected what was to come after they got in the boat. I was however in tears, (I’m an out of sight out of mind kinda girl)
I could understand the high emotions when it came to that moment when the turtle would be turned into the feed as any animal lover would be, but at the end of the day it’s the way of life, the way of living how our people have survived for thousands and thousands of years.
There were still questions raised and spoken about. About why they are still living like this? And why don’t they just leave and go somewhere else? Why are they wearing normal clothes, some of the women were disappointed because they weren’t in traditional attire, almost insinuating that they weren’t authentic Aboriginals because they had normal clothes on that you can get from Target.
As the show came to an end, I took a deep breath and laid silent for a few minutes letting my mind finish taking in all I had just witnessed. It was so surprising to me about how ignorant, naive, wrapped up in cotton wool some people are about even the simplest of things a lack of common sense if you will.
Last nights S1 Ep2 was even better!!
A few of the girls were a little bit more vocal last night not so much holding back, (Jasmine and Bo-Dene)
I still cannot believe that Sandy went home?! She got bored??
I don’t think these travelers realize the once in a life time opportunity that they are getting to be apart of! Even if there ignorance takes over them, they should be embracing the moment!
The one thing that really stood out to me on last night’s episode was how open the Aboriginal ladies were about coming forward and speaking up, sharing there stories and not being afraid to let Australia know their heartache with not only alcoholism but the struggle of life living in such remote communities and it was actually nice to see Bo-Dene open up about her own hidden heartache with her mum and the similarities that there were looked like to me that she was shocked.
But the one thing that had me in absolute tears was towards the end of the show when they were in The Pilbara (WA), Bo-Dene and Trent got sent to Karatha and were housed with Sharon Derschow who owned her own business in communication and worked in the mines, building relationships between Indigenous and Non Indigenous people.
Bo-Dene was so persistent in her welfare questions and Sharon was trying to get her point across and there was one line Sharon said that really jumped out at me “When you hear my story some people wouldn’t believe I am where I am today and I haven’t had one issue in my life, I’ve had plenty”
That line really resinated within me!
Sharon wanted to express to Bo and for her to understand that life isn’t always as simple for Aboriginal people as she thinks.
Sharon ran away from home when she was 14, as she was sexually abused for 3 years. She went on a path of destruction became a mother at the age of 16, was forcibly raped and held at knife point and then was in an abusive relationship and had to deal with domestic violence 6 days out of 7 if she was lucky. She stayed quiet till the age of 25 because in her opinion “We like to keep our families together no matter what!”.
When I heard all of that, I was in tears, what an amazing strong woman to endure all of that and come out on the other side and to have something to show for herself, to own a business and to look on the bright side of life, that is one strong Aboriginal woman!
Trent was almost in tears when he heard her story and when they parted ways he could even talk as he was chocking back tears.
I personally felt a connection with Trent, Marcus and Alison as the show progressed it seemed to me that they wanted to ask the questions, listen to the answers and seemed like they had genuine compassion and tried to understand the way of Aboriginal life in the society that we live in today!
I cannot wait for tonight’s episode!!
Make sure you tune in Tonight
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I hope you have enjoyed my little run down of the show, Make sure you check it out!