A Statement from the Bush: 'Songlines can bring us Home'

A Statement from the Bush

Songlines can bring us Home

4 July 2017

Ghillar, Michael Anderson, Convenor of the Sovereign Union, last surviving member of the founding four of the Aboriginal Embassy and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic provides an insight into a viable pathway going forward.

Provisional Euahlayi Peoples Executive Council and the Senior Council of Euahlayi Elders, Dirranbandi, Qld, on 3 August 2013. - Euahlayi website

An historic image used on the original book cover of 'The Euahlayi Tribe - A study of Aboriginal Life in Australia' by K. Langloh Parker, 1905.
- Online transcript

OK, if we object to being included in the Australian Constitution, then what are our alternative pathways forward?

I have worked for my mother's People, the Euahlayi, since leaving High School. I was fortunate to be fully educated through ceremony by Old Men, who were born in the late 1890s. The Old Women, like my grandmothers and great aunties, insisted on me doing very well in the whiteman's education system.

I must admit early days of university studies were a little bit hard, simply because my mind was always focused on what I was learning and how I could use this knowledge to attack the powers and illegal structures of those who were occupying our lands and ruling over us. As years passed, and having worked at various levels of government, both domestically and internationally, I saw how other people used their own ancient knowledge from other cultures around the world to liberate their People. Many of these liberators, having not engaged in the oppressor's society or, in the alternative, having come from the oppressed, but engaged with the oppressors' world and learnt the ways and skills on how the oppressors themselves dealt with conflicts. These liberators learnt the tricks of the trade of the oppressor society and used them as tools against them to free their People.

Liberation throughout the world has always come with the high risk in terms of:

  1. being imprisoned or assassinated as a leader,
  2. having one's personal life being placed under the microscope, so that any past indiscretions will be brought to the surface and be used against a leader, or an upcoming leader, so as to publicly shame and thereby attempt character assassination to destroy any credibility that one may possess. There is only one way that will stand a leader, or upcoming leader, in good stead in reply to this character assassination, and that is the commitment to one's own convictions, despite detractors.
  3. going back to their roots within their Nations with their knowledge and wisdoms to fight the oppressor while standing beside their own People and thereby foregoing their own personnel life’s ambitions that they may hold.

All liberation leaders and their supporters ultimately pay a price of some kind before they succeed. This is the nature of the fight for freedom, which is never lost.

Liberation and the fight for freedoms demand sacrifice and I ask all of our people – Don't you think that the youth suicide; the removal of our children; the ill-health and death in our communities; the closing down of our communities and forcefully removing us from our lands; the high incarceration rate of not just adult males and females, but of the high juvenile detention rate, this is enough sacrifice. I argue that the extreme youth detention is a deliberate act to disempower and demoralise our youth and thus gain the ability to control potential future leaders in our struggle, if they don't stay in line with the oppressor's demands and expectations of assimilation.

Isn't this enough sacrifice?


NT Intervention
The NT Intervention

The occupying oppressor can do these things to us because we are not subjects, nor citizens of their society.

Let me advance this. It is a well establishment international material fact that it is totally illegal, not to mention immoral and unethical, to send military troops and police against your own subjects/citizens the way former Prime Minister John Howard did with the Northern Territory Intervention some ten years ago. This action, which was authorised by the Constitutional Executive Government of Australia and was supported by Noel Pearson and Pat Anderson, is a clear message that First Nations Peoples are neither subjects, nor citizens, belonging to the colonial occupying state.

A recent comment made to me from a young Aboriginal Lawman was:

“If we are to move away from being assimilated and proceed towards a campaign of decolonisation and self-determination as a People, then how do I take the action to free myself from the demands of the oppressor? The white people have taught us how to think like them, to have similar beliefs and to become accustomed to the Aussie slang and the Aussie way. I must admit they were successful in having me think like them. So I have to move out of that thought process, think like a First Nations person and decolonise. I find it difficult because my physical appearance informs others of who I am as a First Nations person, but I have to admit to myself that I still think like someone who has been naturally born into the coloniser's system.”

The personal challenge for this young Lawman is to shake off the shackles of colonialism and get back to a situation in his life where he can acquire greater knowledge of his connection to Country, and the ancient natural Law, which is the continental common Law of our lands, customs, culture and spiritual belief.

It is not possible to free ourselves from the oppressor if we think and see through the colonial oppressors' eyes, or are engulfed by the Stockholm Syndrome. My advice to young and old First Nations people, who are trying to understand how to defeat this colonial octopus, is to start with reading the definition of the Stockholm Syndrome.

We must get back to who we really are

Now there is a very deliberate undercurrent out there to make a genuine effort to prevent the eastern state Blackfellas, who have borne the brunt of invasion, from reconnecting with our Old People who continue to hold the Law.

Believe it or not, many of those in the high level of government administration know more about the importance of Songlines than many of our own people. They know that Kangaroo Law and Emu Law stretches from one end of this country to the other – east, west, north and south and all in between.

No matter whether you came from Sydney, South Coast of NSW, central Victoria or the Gold Coast you are connected to these ancient Laws through the Songlines. They are not dead to you, or any members of your families. Your Old People sang the Songline Stories down, no doubt in the hope that one day you all will be able to sing them up. This is why the High Court in the Mabo judgment alluded that the culture cannot be revived. This statement indicates that they know that our culture is not dead. We just need to know that our Law is the Law of the Land and we now need to move towards uniting through the Songlines, because without these Songlines we will not be able to liberate ourselves from the oppressor society.

It is time to come together in local, regional and national conventions, where we can engender dialogue and debate on our future. It appears to me that people such as Sean Gordon and his support for Noel Pearson's 'Empowering Communities' is a pathway forward for the assimilated, who are sufficiently pleased to only know maybe a little bit of language and knowledge, which enables them to maintain an extant relationship to their ancient norms and culture, including the use of snippets of langauge.

They then perform as museum pieces of an ancient cultural past. But it is sad to realise that these actions are often money-making ventures for those who perform, through dance and arts. If this is their choice, then good luck and enjoy it. But I believe for us who stand and fight for all that is ours, we should be declaring that those who seek to assume the colonists' life styles through assimilation then loose the right to make any comment on policy, legal or political, about our First Nations' future and our ambitions to be liberated.

The line is drawn

At the Referendum Council's National Constitutional Convention, the line was drawn in the sand. There are no objections to those who want to be absorbed into our oppressor's society. For us who seek to stand and fight, then we must set our sights on looking at the details of how we develop ourselves as self-determining Nations and Peoples, being guided by international legal norms, whilst living next door to our oppressor.

Give some thought to this. There are well known examples of successful liberation movements around the world. Good old Google will tell you all about them, and I propose we assess the possible pathways forward, based on international experiences that have been successful.


Contact: Ghillar Michael Anderson
Convenor of Sovereign Union of First Nations and Peoples and Head of State of the Euahlayi Peoples Republic -
Contact Details for Ghillar