‘I live, create and work on the sacred and sovereign lands of the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the Kulin Nations, and respectfully acknowledge the elder’s past, present and future becoming. I acknowledge that the sovereignty of these lands has never been ceded and the deep disrespect and brutality with which my ancestors illegally occupied the land of the Gunai Kurnai peoples on which I was born. I acknowledge that my sense of place and belonging is built on the struggle of dispossessed Aboriginal people and that I benefit from this as an occupier. I acknowledge and apologise for the continuing acts of colonial power, racism and violence which disregard the transgenerational trauma and pain of dispossession for Aboriginal people. I further acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of all the lands and waters across Australia which i travel. I commit to being open and humble and always respecting the knowledge and wisdom of the First Peoples of this land.’
This acknowledgement is a work in progress for me. It was inspired by the generous conversations and musings with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people at the recent AAANZ conference. I now look to reflect on my position as an occupier of this place called ‘Australia’ in my art, writing and creative practice and this is a step in that process.