Riding the Black Cockatoo & Company Sin Representation Essay

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Representations Seminar
“Riding the Black Cockatoo” and “Company Sin” Matthew Magin

“The land is my mother, my mother is the land. Land is the starting point to where it all began.” (S. Knight)

Words are powerful tools that can be used to represent people and shape opinions about others. In a similar way, certain actions and our treatment of other cultures demonstrate our understandings and acceptance of, different beliefs and cultures. Two texts that support these statements and include representations of Indigenous Australian culture and beliefs are: ‘Riding the Black Cockatoo’ by John Danalis and ‘Company Sin’ by John Butler Trio.

John Danalis wrote a captivating novel about his journey towards righting the wrongs his
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Indigenous Australians do not own the land. They see it as part of them and that it is their duty to respect and look after their mother earth. They use the land to live on, to gain food from, to make items they need and then to return their ancestors to the earth, when they pass on. This is a different concept to the culture White Australians have grown up with. Danalis has to explore his own prejudices and realises that he lives in a nation with some, who are trying to come to terms with both heritages, cultures and beliefs.

Indigenous Australians bury their ancestors on what average Australians see as prime land, where profits could be made from farming or mining. Indigenous Australians do this, as they believe they can: “…enter the spirit world and become one with their mother… the Earth…” Calling the earth their Mother, solidifies Indigenous Australian’s strong connectivity of their spiritual heritage with the land. This is something that White Australians do not have in their heritage. The Indigenous people care for and love the earth they live on. They have a spiritual connection to it, not just a physical one. Simply, this is not part of how White Australians view the land and it is not part of their heritage.

The idea that the average Australian is ignorant to the Indigenous culture is a paramount

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