Stop selling our culture to non-Aboriginal people by Eddie Janama Kitching Gurindji / Mudpurra 24 October 2013
he story on the Mowanjum Art Centre in the Kimberley that I read about last week in First Nations Telegraph of the locals about to commence selling ochre to the commercial market, I’d like to comment on. All I’ve got to say is ‘What’s wrong with our mob?’ We keep selling our soles to commercialism in this country. Is nothing sacred in Aboriginal culture any more? Do Aboriginal people want to sell all our secret and sacred cultural belongings to the nonAboriginal community? When will all this stop? Our bush flora and fauna, our stories and songs are all being registered, recorded, and patented by non-Aboriginal people in this country. I actually see our bush foods being used in commercial food cooking shows on television. We need to register them first and have them patented or under copyright law so that we keep ownership of everything Aboriginal. The reason I feel so passionate about this issue is because I have seen so many Aboriginal items, products, cultural and traditional that have been exploited by nonIndigenous people over many years. This unscrupulous and disrespectful behaviour has happen
to my own family members. I have been told of so many instances where Aboriginal people have been scammed or ripped off, by being enticed by grog, cigarettes, and the smallest amounts of money for all sorts of things that others want. Things like information on how our kinship system works, what the Dreamtime is, and other sacred knowledge. We are handing out skin names to non-Aboriginal people who work in remote communities like lollies. All for the right to say, “You my brother, sister, mother, father” in return for money, cigarettes, car lifts etc. Once a non-Aboriginal person is given a skin then they are entitled to visit sacred places, to watch ceremonies and go through initiation process. They can also take Aboriginal wives, and have decision-making powers. All this needs to STOP. ======================= The artist, Eddie Janama Kitching was born in Darwin, and comes from a large family
of eight sisters and two brothers. Eddie’s extended family live in the remote communities of Daguragu, Kalkarindji, Pidgeon Hill and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Eddie’s grandmother was born at Cattle Creek on Wave Hill station, his mother at Brock’s Creek station. Both were removed by Government authorities (Stolen Generations) to Darwin in about 1924. The Wave Hill area is famous in Australia’s history for its “walk off” in 1966, where Aboriginal stockmen walked off in protest for better working conditions, better pay and the struggle for land rights. The walk off” is reconised as the first fight for land rights in Australia. Eddie’s artwork hang in many galleries and personal collections around Australia and overseas. Permanent exhibitions of his works are in the United States with; · Donald Hahn Collection, Florida · Lowe Art Museum, Florida · University of Miami, Fllorida · Kelton Foundation, Florida Eddie has recently had success in Europe with exhibitions and sales to major galleries and buyers seeking his art. Eddie has been painting since 1982 and paints Goanna, Snake, Bush Tucker, Bush Animals, Fire and Underground Water. Eddie’s mother is Nellie Numpajina Kelly, his grandmother is Elsie Numpija (Mudabi).