Saturday, March 17, 2007

Aborignal Workshop

i've been in a 2 day workshop, learning all about Aboriginal culture.. its work related training, with a view to teaching how to work with Aboriginal clients.. we did a role play today that was pretty intense.. in a good sorta way....the facilitator told a story.. she invited us to close our eyes.. and then related an early Aboriginal scene.. a woman giving birth in a dry river bed.. how the baby was wrapped in leaves.. how she was attendedby midwives.. ..the story went on.. the baby grew and was taught about his culture by an uncle.. ..and it ended when the boy reached manhood and was initiated in the traditional way ..with a corroboree and initiation ceremony.. was a beautifully told story.. written with words that explained the richness yet simplicity of their lives.. as yet untouched by western civilisation....i felt a great sadness after that story.. a sadness for the loss of an amazing culture.. imagine if Oz was still like it was in 1750.. its lost and it can never be found..but as i was sitting with that sadness.. something else happened.. all the participants in the room.. about 30 of us, were handed a plastic bag each and asked to take off our shoes, our name tags, any jewellery and to place the bag under the chair.. we were then given a number 1 to 4.. it turned out to mean that you were either a full cast or half cast boy or a full or half cast girl, according to your number.. all of a sudden the story we had heard became very real.. we were Aborignal kids, segragated into cast and gender groups and not allowed to mix with the other groups.. ripped from our culture and placed in missions.. treated like criminals.. urchins.. separated from family.. and forbidden to speak their own language.. it was the most realistic role play i have ever been involved in.. and to add to the realness of this scene.. the actual building we were in.. was actually a place used during the 1950 and 60's to house Aboriginal kids that were removed from their families....i didnt cope well with all this.. and it was made more difficult because we had our morning tea within the role play.. (mixing our actual lifes with the role play).. for moring tea, we were told to line up in our segregated groupings according to our gender and blackness.. we were not allowed to speak and were not able to choose our food but rather, it was distributed to us randomly.. (there was fruit and cake but you had no choice about it)i just couldnt bring myself to eat in this environment and i was sooo pleased when it was over.. i went outside and sat under a tree.. and felt extremely thankful for my own life and well as feeling sad.. i also felt angry.. for being put in that situation.. but now.. safe a secure in my own life again.. i am pleased to have been transported in the role play, to such a bleak and miserable place.. i have a greater appreciation of just what that experience may have felt like.. and i have a new thankfulness for the yummy life i have.. perspective is a gift.. dont you think....what a day.. and so pleased we are up to the week end... it wa horrible at the time.. it seemed so real.. i really felt in the scene.. because of the story first, which seemed safe enough to imagine.. but then being asked to participate in a physical sense.. i felt like i lost all personal boundaries.. to be able to view the scene and not be affected.. it was interesting because.. this is just the way that i usually protect myself from involvement in other ppl's trauma, as part of my work practice.. i refrain from talking about my own related stuff.. i stay outside of the experience in that way.. whereas in this scenario.. there were no barriers.. i felt powerless to be outside the scene set for us..
..i'll have to think about it.. but there must be positive ways to use that powerful process.. :)


Djak said...

perspective is a gift..
I like that line. Great story.

(trying not to be a total lurker :P)

Anonymous said...

wow, you are my bud on mayas mom, and this is all so intense. i love it.

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