Uncle Den joined the IHH for our first Learning Circle of the year on healing. We remembered the Apology to the Stolen Generations, and told stories about where everyone was when that event occurred and what it meant to us then and now. We remembered how even as Kevin Rudd made the long-overdue apology happen, the opposition leader was still resistant and John Howard was the only living Prime Minister who didn't attend. As Uncle Den reminded us, 'you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink'. This seems similar to what Jesus said when he invited people to 'come and see' - he was always issuing invitations for people to follow him, but it was up to them.
In the spirit of taking up the invitation to 'come and see', Uncle Den took some folks from South Yarra Baptist and IHH on the Aboriginal heritage walk at the Botanical Gardens on Sunday. We learnt about bushfoods through smell and taste and touch. By paying attention in this way, we started to hear how Aboriginal people see the land as their mother. The land which nurtures, feeds, supports. Which can be hurt and damaged. Which cannot be owned, but must be respected and cared for. Uncle Den told us some hard truths about how the land and the first people have been damaged by invasion, and at the same time he was warm, funny, encouraging and invitational.
We can only start where we're at. Come and see.