Interview – Ali Cobby Eckermann on her poem ‘Oombulgarri’

Oombulgarri was the name of a community
in northern Western Australia where the government came in with
bulldozers and raised this community to the ground. It was very troubling times for
Aboriginal people especially in Western Australia because nearly I believe 50
communities were listed for eradication. Aboriginal people have ties to the land, so very distressing. There was a lot of
protests around Australia by other Aboriginal people and community members. I wanted to include this poem because it’s important. I’m hoping to plant
curiosity in the reader that they’ll go what’s Oombulgarri and we all have
access to Google now, and you know a fast way of learning, and so much is
recorded via phones and even people in remote areas being able to upload things
on to the community. So I guess it’s a bit of a challenge to, for the reader to
research the place names, and to find out the bigger story of these places, and to know that everything that the government tells you is not true because behind the
scenes stories like this are still occurring in Australia. So when I thought of the blue pattern
dresses I was thinking of the women and in the outback stores in these communities mostly the clothing sold to Aboriginal women is vibrant and patterned and floral and they wear it often mismatched. And when the Oombulgarri community was bulldozed, so the people
are gone, if you take the people the flesh out of everything, so those
beautiful dresses and shirts that the women wore would be lying on the ground
empty. And I wanted to honour the presence of
them because they’re such a strong part of the community and
that the essence of them would be these beautiful patterns that they wore still
in this environment.

4 thoughts on “Interview – Ali Cobby Eckermann on her poem ‘Oombulgarri’

  1. This was a really nice video, I liked the energy and vibe. Thanks for sharing this one

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