With new t-shirts from Debbie’s business we were a strong unit that prepared and tended to the American tour groups at Mungalla Station. I felt like one of the mob that week as everyone was so friendly. I was the only “white” person on the land between tour groups, yet felt like I was family. It was such an awesome feeling!!
Okay, so the best way I can describe it is if you’re familiar with an Italian family… and all the Uncles, Aunties, cousins and distant cousins… well, this is what I experienced here! A massive extended family gathering. In this instance, although people made me feel welcomed, I felt as though I stood out – NOT one of the mob. I had no connections, no ties to the land.
Then I realised that this was an important part of the Indigenous culture, “which land are you from”? “What tribe are you originally from?” … and then, “OH! You’re my distant cousin from 3 generations over!” … and the conversation goes on. It was quite fascinating.
And guess what I was thinking?
I wonder if I’ll “fit in” when I get a – what they call a – “skin name”. And how will I connect with a mob who would give me a skin name? What does having a skin name actually mean?
There’s two ways a non-Indigenous person can feel like one of the mob (probably more ways, but two that are quite distinctive). 1. Feel like part of a group when you’re helping out and 2. Actually being accepted by a tribe as a family member.
That last one is a big ask!
There’s still more to be discovered…..