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Our politicians have shown themselves too small for this task

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I am a magpie. It is my family’s totem, our animal spirit. It connects us to our place, in my case Wiradjuri country in central west NSW. It is my home, the land on which I was raised. It is a land that links me to my ancestors, to tens of thousands of years of tradition. It is the essence of sovereignty; our story comes out of our land, it lives in the waters and plants and animals and it lives in us.

I was back on country again recently for my Aunty’s funeral. She was my father’s sister, a formidable woman raised on missions and riverbanks in the hard years of state enforced segregation. She, like so many others, had lived at the coalface of bigotry and often brutality.


My Aunty grew up to travel the world, and dedicate her life to the pursuit of justice for her people. She served on the Wiradjuri Council of Elders and along with my father, fought to keep our language alive and flourishing. My Aunty was one of the trailblazers of Indigenous media and inspired me to chase my dreams.

She had a big funeral. Our people came from everywhere. When it came time to deliver her eulogy, I wore an armband of magpie feathers designed by one of my cousins. In our modern world we can so easily be cynical – too rational -........

© The Age