I jump into worlds that I know little or nothing about and write about them like I've lived in them all my life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Australia has just celebrated N.A.I.D.O.C week, a celebration of our indigenous culture. Here is my favourite Aboriginal protest song -- Took The Children Away - ARCHIE ROACH





Archie Roach is an icon of the Australian music industry and his honest storytelling tells the sad truth of indigenous Australia. He wrote the landmark song 'Took the Children Away' in 1990, about his own childhood and being taken by authorities from his parents to a mission.

"You took the children away, Breaking their mothers heart, Tearing us all apart" the lyrics ring.

This heartbreaking account of the Stolen Generation became the anthem of indigenous activism in Australia-- It was awarded two ARIA Awards as well as an international Human Rights Achievement Award, cementing Roach as a powerful activist and storyteller.

Through the proceeding 20 years, Roach has sung with measured reason and heartfelt sorrow of his own deep experiences, as well of those of his ancestors.

This video is interspersed with archival footage along with clips from the movie, Rabbit Proof Fence, based on the true story written by a stolen child when she grew up. 


If you haven't heard this song before, I hope you love it as much as I do.


I have been busy blogging at my English Resources blog now that school is in again. 




26 comments:

  1. Very powerful song! Much the same thing happened here in Canada, children taken away to be "educated" and westernized. It was a despicable and traumatic act of violence by anyone's standards no matter what the motives at the time.

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    1. Yes, sadly the British Colonialists knew a thing or two about white supremacy, a view eagerly embraced by successive white governments here. Now we use it against refugees too.

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  2. The first time I heard this song, coming out of my car radio as I drove along a busy city street, I was hit by a wave of sadness, pulled my car out of the morning rush and wept. The song was a revelation to me. I just didn't know. Since then I have learned there's another side to the history we were taught as white Australians. Thanks for posting, I needed a fresh reminder.

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    1. The sadness does come through, Parlance.

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  3. As a Brit we (the collective 'we') can get very arrogant about our glorious white history. At last we are beginning to hear the other side. But there's still too many of us who think it's just history, and nothing to do with the need to make reparation and care equally for each other now.

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    1. Arrogance all right, Jo. Plenty of that during the Assimilation.

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  4. What a terrible tragedy. Native American Indians got crapped on here in the USA. Things like that get swept under the rug and we need reminders of what happened.

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    1. Yes, many societies did the same, I know. Aussies probably know more about the American Indians from Hollywood movies than their own indigenous history.

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  5. JO nailed it, I am an ex pat and certainly was taught to revere our history without reference to how it might have affected the peoples we had power over at the time. This was a terrible tragedy and so was the Canadian story; the same thing was done in Greece when hundreds of kids were stolen after WWII.

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    1. Yes, a previous Prime Minister of ours called acknowledging the alternate view the Black Arm Band history.

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  6. It's interesting how events that were seen as benevolent in ages past are now viewed as cruelty by our current standards. It makes me wonder what things we do currently as a kindness will be seen by generations to come as utter stupidity.

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    1. I'm sure there's plenty of things that we're doing now that will be seen as utterly stupid in the future.

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  7. It's a wonderful, but tragic, song. Loved Rabbit Proof Fence- fantastic movie!

    We always do something at work for NAIDOC week, generally just a morning of presentations then "morning tea" (even if the latter starts closer to lunch). We always get to hear at least one Aboriginal elder speak. This year we had a guy speak who runs this not-for-profit organisation that works to give unrecognised WW (and other) indigenous soldiers not only recognition (by matching names to soldier history), but also a proper burial. He's done hundreds so far.

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  8. Hi Denise - great comments here and so true. I saw Rabbit Proof Fence years ago as a home movie, and know I'd have preferred to see it in a cinema .. amazing video and thanks for highlighting Archie Roach and his songs .. I'll look for some of his ...

    I was thinking earlier - why does humanity always want to conquer others .. why can't we live in peace ... actually it was about the Chinese and their actions re one of their races in the western fringes - the Uighers I think they are.

    Then I think back to the Romans - not the starting point - but they were ruthless too ... slavery of forms has been going on since time immemorial ... so albeit what we and other westerners have done is appalling ...

    I can't understand why some people are kind, others are cruel ...

    Even in times of sheer desperation that we're (the human race) involved in now - or see via reports ... in Africa, South America, Russia, China .. etc etc ..

    Thanks for posting and reminding us of many things ... love this clip - despite its sadness and desperation ... Hilary

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    1. I should add 'the history of exploitation' ... has always happened ...

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  9. Beautiful song. Such sad circumstances though. I've watched a few Australian movies on this subject, and it's always heartbreaking.

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    1. I'm glad you've seen movies on the subject.

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  10. That's so sad! Sometimes the best work comes from such a tragic experience. What a touching song.

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  11. Seems we humans are capable of great cruelty, doesn't it. The song was so poignant.

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  12. What a sad, heartfelt song. Such a past! The things people do to one another... I've never heard of Rabbit Proof Fence but the title is awesome!

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    1. It is. It helped the girls come home.

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  13. He has a beautiful, heartfelt voice. I had no idea about the stolen indigenous children. So sad.

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    1. Yes it is Medeia, but good that we teach it now.

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  14. His words resonate with the passion of a man who knows of outrage, of injustice.

    Lessons to be listened to. If only more ears were open. Thank you for this poignant message, Denise.

    Gary

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