Oodgeroo of the tribe Noonuccal, Custodian of the land Minjerribah, Peace Prosperity and Healing, Sacred Treaty Circles

Alexis Wright remembers Oodgeroo Noonucal

Posted in Aboriginal, Art, Australia, history, indigenous, Oodgeroo, reconciliation, sovereignty, treaty by John T. on January 17, 2009

“A Weapon of Poetry”

From – Overland Magazine – a radical magazine of political, literary and cultural issues.

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In 2007 her most recent novel, Carpentaria, won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award (Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction), Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (Best Fiction Book) and the Australian Book Industry Award (Australian Literary Fiction Book of the Year). A version of this paper was delivered as the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Lecture in August 2008.

Australians and readers across the world love Oodgeroo of the Noonuccal people for the contribution she made with a poetry that reflects her openness, compassion and participation in the struggle for the rights of Aboriginal people. Oodgeroo was a teacher and guide to thousands who visited her home Moongalba where she established the Noonuccal-Nughie Education and Cultural Centre. The huge legacy that Oodgeroo left us through her poetry and work as a political activist, educator and leader remains a beacon of pride and inspiration to Aboriginal people everywhere.

In the heart of Aboriginal consciousness – that place where our spirit is kept alive with memories, our constant source of light, hope for the future and defiance in troubled times – Oodgeroo Noonuccal is there. She is a legend, as familiar to us as looking up into the skies at night and seeing the light shining from those billions of stars in the Milky Way. Passing clouds only momentarily block that legacy, the Aboriginal sovereign thinking that shines through Oodgeroo’s work. She was a peoples’ storyteller of every campfire that we have ever sat beside, where all of the remembered stories, and all of the new stories, are told and retold.