Jungku Ngambala Ngarrur Ngarrumba Yarkijina Yurrngumba— Garrwa Yanyuwa Elder Nancy McDinny
(We sit peacefully in our lands forever)
In 2020 pandemic conditions created an extreme sense of isolation and containment. The city slowed down to lockdown pace here on unceded Gadigal lands as the terror of COVID-19 began to unravel through all sorts of media around the world. Feeling far from our homelands I began to rumble through old photos and crates of hard drive for inspiration. To return with these personal archives gave breath to the mundane daily routine we all faced. The kids loved the random footage surrounding the Darrbarrwarra music video I shot as part of my creative doctorate in 2018 with their cuzzo Scotty singing and family dancing on Garrwa country. As eternal warriors of the land Darrbarrwarra sing, dance and fight for the land’s peaceful existence. In the meantime, the Australian Government, in all of its wisdom, delivered the COVID-19 economic recovery plan which focuses heavily on a fossil fuel and gas-led recovery. Fracking is rejected by everyday peoples (see, for example, the School Strike 4 Climate movement) and scientists and increasingly outlawed across the world. So why is Australia choosing to embrace it further? The archival multiverse has the potential to document and contextualise this as colonisation by design, drawing attention to the long history of mining companies destroying land and contaminating water for profit. The Darrbarrwarra Archives project emerges at this critical moment with care, respect and mindful guidance from Kirsten Thorpe’s call for greater understanding of the ‘emotional and spiritual side of access’, in the self-determining transformation of archival praxis. Our families and communities on the frontline are karringa kingkali — standing up strong. In carrying this immense burden, they carry our ancestral pledge to honour our Elders’ calls for peaceful existence.
Darrbarrwarra (track), Scott McDinny, produced by Nooky.
Video: Jason De Santolo
Thorpe, K. (2019). Transformative praxis – building spaces for Indigenous Self Determination, In the Library with the Lead Pipe