Celebrating Indigenous Culture #WATWB August

Welcome to We Are the World – WATWB posts for August 2017.  Our generous co-hosts this month are

Eric Lahti,

Inderpreet Kaur Uppal,

Mary Melange,

Lynn Hallbrooks,

and myself, Simon Falk. We are part of a team and encourage you to visit as many posts carrying the ‘We Are The World’ hashtag (#WATWB) as you would like to read.

In my country of Australia our relationship with our Indigenous brothers and sisters has been mixed. There has been some horrible history. We are very sorry and hope for an ever better present and future.  This post features three stories that have come to my attention in recent weeks.  They all celebrate good news coming from exploring culture.



Anh Do  could be a WATWB feature in his own right.  Here, I would like to spotlight his portrait of Jack Charles, in the  Art Gallery of NSW as a 2017 entrant in the annual portrait competition, the Archibald Prize. Thanks to Aussie journalist, Siobhan Heanue for tweeting it for me to notice.  What is interesting here is a vivacious portrait of a talented man.  A man, who as an actor shows great promise for his people. Jack lived through being part of a stolen generation.  He was addicted to heroine.  But his acting and activism for indigenous needs shows the light he had become.

img_0439Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu featured in the news recently . His death was a source of sadness to many.  The blind, left-handed guitarist thrilled us with the sounds of his deeply soulful singing.  (OK, I’m left-handed too, and love seeing lefties play.  On with the show!).  Gurrumul’s tones and lyrics would, and still do, take us to places of depth and rest.  Dr G, as he is often known, is a fitting WATWB person for his different ability was a source of life, love and joy to many. Check out his music on youtube. Please note that those clips may contain images of deceased persons. We respect their memory.


We celebrate not only the gift of Indigenous culture in art, stage, and music.  But we also celebrate it in history.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Jabiru, Northern TerritoryAboriginal people have lived in Australia for a minimum of 65,000 years, a team of archaeologists has established – 18,000 years longer than had been proved previously and at least 5000 years longer than had been speculated by the most optimistic researchers.  

Those archaeology and anthropology buffs out there can find more of that story here.

It all reflects to me a colour,

It sings to me a song.

It tells of a great story,

Saying how do we belong?

How to belong together,

Sharing our creativity,

and giving of our life.

In hearing music from our harmony,

And not the din of strife.


Simon C. J. Falk 25 August 2017




Looking for some stories of hope!

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  1.  Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news, about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
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42 thoughts on “Celebrating Indigenous Culture #WATWB August”

  1. The history of indigenous peoples and people of color with whites holds so much sorrow. There is so much to learn from all these cultures. It will be good when we can all hear the music of our harmony.

    1. May we live to see a day where we hear a bar or two of that harmony in our lifetime, Deborah. It is my hope that posts such as this help tune us that bit more to its potential.

  2. Art, whether visual or auditory, can truly transcend barriers if we choose to let it. Thanks for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB

  3. Hi Simon – three very talented people who are part of a community most people in the first world find difficulty to relate to – yet their ways have forged paths way ahead of ours. Fantastic art … stunning music – I’m sure I’ve come across Geoffrey before … yes, I saw him at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert here in London 2012 … I knew he rang a bell. I’ve just read ABC’s news obituary to him …

    We need to respect and learn from our indigenous peoples they have so much to offer …

    Thanks Simon – brilliant WATWB – such a sad one for Geoffrey … Hilary

  4. Geoffrey’s voice is stunning and that portrait of Jack is beautiful. We visited Australia last year and visited the National Art Gallery in Canberra – aboriginal art is very beautiful. thanks for co-hosting Simon.

  5. It’s wonderful that the indigenous peoples of Australia have been recognised for their supreme talents Simon. Thank you for these peeks into their lives. And I agree you poem is excellent too!

  6. These are heart-opening stories Simon – three beautiful picks to share. I’ve only needed to listen to one of Geoffrey’s songs to fall in love – I’m looking forward to exploring more. Your poem is a perfect reminder of how there are so many to honor for their contribution. This has proven a long hard journey into harmony and unity, but there are so many beautiful souls reminding of just what we lose when we strive for anything less.

    1. Thanks Deborah. Dr G, as they call him, has been extraordinary in every sense of the word and helps us transcend the political aspects of cultural division to sharing of harmony and beauty.

  7. Thanks for sharing these stories of the Australian aborigines and participating in #WATWB. The indigenous people of Australian must have made many positive contributions over 65,000 and, so, they should be treated as royalty and nothing else.

  8. Thank you for sharing these stories, Simon. The story of indigenous people in many places is a sad one, and I think they are only starting to get respect and recognition recently.

  9. In the 21st century, embracing diversity is more important THAN EVER!
    The world has never witnessed a moment with so many possibilities as today. We have never been so connected, online and offline. We now hold more means of transportation and communication than ever before.
    Out of all 7 billion people on this planet, everybody is unique in their own way.
    With so much access and so many different people comes the need for learning how to live together, on a global scale.
    We need to understand that our differences complete us!!
    Thank you for sharing, Simon!

    Writer In Transit

  10. People migrating to Australia 65,000 years ago is incredible. How fascinating, Simon. I wonder if a fishing boat all those years ago containing both men and women was lost at sea until they landed or if those aboard sailed off to see what was beyond their own shores.

    Indigenous people in my native USA have historically been treated horribly and for the most part still are today.

    Those in my adopted Ecuador have some decent and some horrible history. The new 2008 constitution gives them many more rights than they had historically, including seats in government. A small indigenous community 10 minutes from where I live support their community almost exclusively through ecotourism, giving tours of their lands, a small museum and allowing use of their natural sulfur pool. They boast inhabitants who can trace their lineage directly back to the Manteño ancestors. But that is still less than 1200 years ago. In 2016, a Canadian archaeologist moved in with them for a multiyear project to learn more about their history. It is fully privately funded, therefore anyone can pay to be an archaeologist for as little as 4 hours or for as many days as they are willing to pay.

    Thanks for sharing these indigenous stories with us and hosting WATWB!

  11. I’m listening to Dr. G as I write… Beautiful! I’d never heard of him before, but he’s become a favorite as of now. So soothing, so soulful, so deep. I wish I could understand the lyrics, but even without that layer his music speaks to me. Thanks for the introduction, Simon 🙂 Jack Charles sounds like someone truly worth knowing—or, at least, knowing about. I will do a little more research on him. I have a few friends in AUS, some of whom work with the indigenous population in social services, so I’m familiar with some of the horror stories—and with some of the redemptive ones. Kudos to you for celebrating their history and culture!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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