nla.obj-145678177-1.jpg

Seselja, Loui. (2000). Portrait of Johnny Huckle singing at Corroboree 2000, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-145678177

Uncle Johnny Huckle, a Wiradjuri elder was part of the contingent from Canberra for the National Sorry Day Committee which was involved in Corroboree 2000 and the Walk for Reconciliation. Uncle Johnny is a renowned Aboriginal musician who has been performing for decades with his powerful songs. He performed at of the events around Sydney and walked across the bridge, guitar in hand playing his song “Journey of Healing”, which he also played in the Opera house and in Parliament house.

Journey of Healing (Chorus)

Come join the journey, journey of healing
Let the spirits guide us, hand in hand
Lets walk together, into the future
The time has come to make a stand
Lets heal our hearts lets heal our pain

And bring the stolen children, home again
Lets walk together into the future
Together as one across this land

What was the Walk for Reconciliation like for you?

“The whole thing was designed to wash-over the value of Sorry and the message of the Stolen Generation, Reconciliation is a nice idea but shouldn’t of been done over the top of Sorry day, the true message would have been better to stay with the damage to the Stolen Generations, and bring out everything that happened that was tabled by the Bringing them Home report by Sir Ronald Wilson in 1997. But to see Sorry written in the sky was really, really powerful and significant, it’s one of the most powerful things you could ever see, especially given a couple hundred thousand people were walking across the bridge as it was happening, it was amazing. The banners were flying red black and yellow as well as blue red and white. This inspired me to put ‘Sorry in the Sky’ in my song Fair and Black.

Fair and Black (Chorus)

So lets advance Australia fair and black
Remember the past but don’t look back
Lets take the next together as one
Let the sorry in the sky
Be in the tears in our eyes
And bring us closer together in our hearts
Let the wisdom of our land
Help us all to understand
Lets advance Australia Fair and black                

What has changed in the last 20 years?

“Of the 54 recommendations from the Bringing them Home report we have only had a couple of those ticked off in these 20 years, the rest has been people going into communities to try and help with health, education and try and create jobs, but that is such a long-term ongoing job and there is still so much still to do. The Aboriginal deaths in custody is still going on, the mortality rate hasn’t dropped much, there’s so much to do that still hasn’t been done. More people seem to be aware there are people that do care but plenty that couldn’t give a bar of it. Schools have helped and they are getting better with education about Aboriginal culture, but the old guard still don’t, hopefully the wheels will fall off and that’s when we will see real change in this country.

We were waiting on John Howard to give the apology, but he only talked about his ‘Statement of Regret’ and it was a real stab in the heart, which led me to write the song ‘’Government Shame’’ But 8 years later when Kevin Rudd gave the apology that was where the real focus has come from, the Apology not so much since the Bridge Walk. The walk was significant but the idea of doing things has come more since the apology.”

Government Shame (Extract)

Well it seems me to all Indigenous people are the governments shame
Why cant he say he’s sorry for all the wrongs been done
Why must we live in this government mentality down the barrel of a gun
Why don’t they leave us alone alone

What is your vision of Reconciliation for the next 20 years?

“We need someone to grab the ball and run with it in around repairing and healing the suffering that has occurred. We need equality among all Australians, people are still living in extreme poverty, awful conditions in remote communities. People walking miles just to get to water, and not even having proper sanitisation. They keep saying it’s the Aboriginal problem, we throw all this money at it and nothing happens, but there is a lack of understanding of culture. Aboriginal people may need to adjust to some contemporary life to survive, but we need to hold our dreaming, we need to have a full sense of ourselves our whole being.

Leaders and people should get to know about Aboriginal communities customs and protocols, they should be going down to the pub and have a beer and conversation and find out. Sometimes you got to absorb yourself into the community so that there is some understanding about what has been built over time. It’s not going to happen in bits of paper, it will be through getting to know and an understanding of Aboriginal people.”

http://johnnyhuckle.com.au/

 

See below a copy of the full Lyrics to Journey of Healing 

Journey of healing

They took the children

They took the land

We learned the truth now

We understand

That day for sorry

We shared together

And the promise

To make things better

Chorus

Come join the journey, journey of healing

Let the spirits guide us,hand in hand

Lets walk together ,into the future

The time has come to make a stand

Refain:

Lets heal our hearts lets heal our pain

And bring the stolen children, home again

Lets walk together into the future

Together as one across this land

 

Our people still suffer our people still

With their bitter tears this land still rains

Their cries still echo on our history’s page

Lets heal our people lets set the stage

Chrs/refrain

To move forward together

We must heal our past

For the lies of history

Are reveal at last

 

For our stolen children

To ever trust again

We must take this journey

Together as friends