The Roots of Original Dignity

by Jojo on Monday, 21 May 2007 Comments
On the occasion 40th anniversary of the 1967 Australian referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Australians recognized the human rights of Indigenous Australians, this article calls for a retrospective recognition that the aboriginal dignity does not a priori depends on a referendum of the dominant “white society.” Aboriginal dignity is a primordial given and an experiential factity based on the ritualistic celebration (in the school of life) of aboriginal festivities and passages of life. This paper argues, abeit from an ethnographic point of view, that the rituals and shamanic experiences are constituents of existential DNA fabric of aboriginal human dignity. In Part I of this paper, the two narratives bespeak of the authors’ personal experiences of shamanic rituals, summarily described as the “subversive space” which continues to subvert the hegemonism of any systemic erasure of aboriginal cultures and religiosity. The latter can be outlawed but not outlived for the shamanic world are about transcendental realities known as the sacred world of spirits. The narratives of shamanic power-over the military might further postulates that shamanic power not only constitutes aboriginal dignity but preserves and promotes the dignity of one’s neighbours. The differences are discriminatory walls that segregate and yet the differences are causes for celebration based on the commonality of having experienced the shamanic world of the spirits. In Part II of this paper, the author enumerates viable strategies for both the members of the dominant society and the aboriginal communities, with special focus on women and the young, in the hope that the evolving society involves collaborative efforts wherein total human flourishing is attainable so that aboriginal peoples and ALL become equal citizens and equal disciples amidst their differences that must be celebrated by ALL.
Download here the pdf version of the paper by Jojo Fung

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