By Pamela Nathan
Stan Grant’s recent feature story about Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia (‘Between catastrophe and survival: The real journey Captain Cook set us on‘ By Stan Grant, ABCis a moving insight into the truths, lies, contradictions and possibilities around the ‘birth’ of Australia. Cook’s arrival marked a catastrophic change for a land and people steeped in 65,000 years of history, and a fight for survival that continues nearly 250 years later. Cook himself and his crew, survived a near catastrophe as his ship ran aground, fearing imminent death and flood. It also marked the moment when the lives of Aboriginal Australians and the new arrivals became forever intertwined, of “Two peoples… two stories, two rivers, that meet”.
The flowing waters of two rivers meeting can create catastrophic change. It can forge new directions, new discoveries, for better or worse.
Grant writes about the Uluru Statement from the Heart that “reminded Australia that Indigenous sovereignty has never been ceded but co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown”.
The two rivers do not flow together freely.
He writes: “generations of Indigenous people have struggled for a way in; have balanced the legacy of a painful history with the need to make peace”.
As Grant concludes, the Uluru Statement from the Heart is a statement of hope for a reconciled future, based on open and free acknowledgment of all of the stories that are woven into the fabric of Australia’s history.