Tuesday, February 13, 2007
I woke up to the repatriation debate on ABC AM yesterday."Last year in a landmark decision, Britain's Natural History Museum agreed to return the remains of 17 Indigenous Tasmanians. But before sending the remains back to Australia, the Museum wanted to collect scientific data. That sparked an angry outcry from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, and it's now fighting the Museum in the High Court in London". (ABC AM web site)
I am always struck by the great resilence and fighting spirit of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and the way they keep chipping away at the ongoing legacies of colonial rule. They are warriors and I admire them!
The rough cut of the film has a sequence on repatriation...originally I had used a photograph of a shelf of skulls (from the British Museum); you would think I would know how inappropriate that was...one of the Tasmanian readers of a much earlier edit was offended and warned against using it. I had no problem taking it out; what interests me is how could I have edited it in? I we replaced the image with water...it was a breakthrough to working with images of fire and water.
An insightful essay on death and ceremony is by Tasmanian Aboriginal writer/thinker/educator Greg Lehman, Trawulway People, Nth East Tasmania. Lehman says: To pay respect and honour to the spirits of the Old Ones after so many years of desecration and indignity is our most important obligation." ‘Life’s Quiet Companion’, Island, (no.69, 1996, p.60). So now in this draft edit we have Lehman's words over the image of water....