In term three the IHH community gathered around the Biblical book of Lamentations and read it in light of our own context at the house and the broader Australian context. We found that the story of the Israelite people and their prolonged suffering at the hands of invaders could be related to the suffering of Indigenous people in our own country. We were also challenged by the idea of needing to sit in the tension of difficult circumstances and become better acquainted with our own pain and the pain of others. The realisation that the book of Lamentations offers no resolve to the circumstances faced by the people of Israel is at once confronting and also honest to our shared human experience.
It was a valuable time of learning together. I'm looking forward to sharing more of these spaces to engage with the Bible and current events in the near future. I would invite all those interested in learning more to keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and emails for the next opportunity to come along and join in!
This is one of the texts that we read alongside the book of Lamentations, Oodgeroo Noonuccal's 'We Are Going':
They came in to the little town
A semi-naked band subdued and silent
All that remained of their tribe.
They came here to the place of their old bora ground
Where now the many white men hurry about like ants.
Notice of the estate agent reads: 'Rubbish May Be Tipped Here'.
Now it half covers the traces of the old bora ring.
'We are as strangers here now, but the white tribe are the strangers.
We belong here, we are of the old ways.
We are the corroboree and the bora ground,
We are the old ceremonies, the laws of the elders.
We are the wonder tales of Dream Time, the tribal legends told.
We are the past, the hunts and the laughing games, the wandering camp fires.
We are the lightening bolt over Gaphembah Hill
Quick and terrible,
And the Thunderer after him, that loud fellow.
We are the quiet daybreak paling the dark lagoon.
We are the shadow-ghosts creeping back as the camp fires burn low.
We are nature and the past, all the old ways
Gone now and scattered.
The scrubs are gone, the hunting and the laughter.
The eagle is gone, the emu and the kangaroo are gone from this place.
The bora ring is gone.
The corroboree is gone.
And we are going.