Humor Fiction posted January 28, 2015


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the Hoopers Crossing gang support the Aboriginal Embassy

Nana Gibson Goes to Canberra

by mfowler


'Can youse believe them blackfellas? What a cheek they got!' says Uncle Joe Jagemara.

The old men of Hoopers Crossing are debating the sass of the aboriginal protestors who set up a tent right outside Parliament House.
 
'Whadaya-mean? Those fellas are tryin' to get back our land,' says Uncle Possum.

I'm havin' a Seven-Up and enjoyin' the big ceilin' fan in the Hoopers Crossing store. The men have been watchin' the new TV Uncle Possum has installed to keep his customers happy. He's got such a big aerial on top of the store that the crows have set up home near the top. The TV goes all wavy and sometimes we watch snow. Still, it's the biggest thing to come to Hoopers Crossing since Lionel Rose, world champion boxer, and Australian of the Year, was here two years back. In 1972, that's about as modern as is gets.
 
'Hey, Uncle Possum. Why da the fellas want to live in that tent in Canberra? They can't catch roos or go swimmin' in the river like the rest of us blackfellas.'
 
Before Uncle Possum can answer, old Les Gibson, who's got the heart of bastard Bunyip, accordin' to Nana Gibson, says, 'Don't you worry about such stuff. This is man's business, young Markie.' Now, I know people think I'm as green as a bullfrog's bum, but I do listen, and I know stuff.
 
Uncle Joe Jagemara pipes up. 'Hey, Markie. Don't take no notice of that Les Gibson. Youse a blackfella just like them boys in Canberra. Ya see, some people who call themselves activists wanta get some of the land back them whitefellas stole from us.'
 
I say, 'Did they? They didn't steal Hoopers Crossing.' The old men laugh like I'm some kinda kid.
 
'Oh, yeah, they did,' says Les Gibson, 'us Wiradjuri blackfellas used to share land as far as you could see. Your ancestors useta wander all round this big place. No whitefella in sight.'
 
Uncle Joe Jagemara says, 'Them days is gone, Les Gibson. Gotta be pleased with what ya got. They let ya live in Hoopers Crossing. We do alright.' I'm thinkin' deep about this talkin' and the men drift away to watch the TV and arguin'.
 
I think I'll ask Nana Gibson. She musta been around when the whitefellas came.  'Hey, Nana Gibson, is it true the whitefellas took our land and that Hoopers Crossing isn't really ours?' She stops pluckin' the nose hairs from her pig.
 
'Geeze, Markie. That's a big question. Let me see. Yeah, those fellas liked what they saw. They come with guns and shit and they pluck the black man like a hen house fulla scabby chickens. Left us with the bones, only they is as worthless as a bunged-up dunny.' When Nana Gibson spouts that sort of poetry, I knows she's as passionate as a matin' roo in a herd full of frisky bucks.
 
'Whadda ya think of them fellas at the tent embassy in Canberra, Nana?'
 
'They just playin', Markie. They got the politishuns all fussed up like flock of feasting pigeons, and the TV's makin' a big deal. But, that Prime Minister fella's gunna kick 'em out when the party's done.' This fuss is makin' my head hurt. I don't like what I've found out about us Wiradjuri blackfellas, but I'm sure fussy headed about what to do.
 
I see Frankie, my big brother, and Willy, his good friend, throwin' stones at the crows on Uncle Possum's TV aerial. 'Hey, Frankie. Hey, Willie,' I say it like they say it.
 
'Wassup, Markie?' asks my big brother. I tell him what I've been findin' out about the embassy in Canberra.
 
'Ah, you shouldna let your black arse get worried 'bout stuff like that. Wanta chuck a rock at the crows?' I look up at the black beggars and they is just laughin' at us.
 
'Nah, Frankie. This is got me thinkin' too deep.'
 
Willie butts in. 'Hey, Markie. If you so all steamed up, why don't you go to Canberra and tell that Prime Minister dat ya want Hoopers Crossin' back?' Frankie laughs like a drunk kookaburra and slaps Willie right on the back. He musta thought that was a good idea, he's so pleased. Frankie and Willie usually come up with my best ideas.
 
Next day, the old men at the store are clackin' on like constipated geese again. 'There ain't nuthin' we can do 'bout it,' says Billy Walker Possum.
 
'Don't be a sissy pants,' says Les Gibson. They start to push each other but no-one seems to move.
 
I get all excited and say, 'Why don't us blackfellas go down to Canberra and help them activists?' The whole place erupts like Nana Gibson's henhouse when she chucks in the scraps. They all talk at once but no-one hears anything anyone else says.
 
'Shuddup,' says Uncle Possum, 'listen.' The TV has stopped snowing and the weather's fine. They is showin' the embassy again. The man with the mike says that people is comin' from all over the country to protest. The police shouldna knocked down the tents, a blackfella he's talkin' to, says.
 
'Well,' says Les Gibson, 'why don't we go?' The old men suddenly get excited, even Uncle Joe Jagemara. They tell Les he's a fine leader and they'll go with him. They seem to forget that it was me who gave them Willie's good idea.
 
Two days later, the old fellas and Nana Gibson, roll outa town with twenty-one people on the backa Uncle Possum's truck. That leaves 182 people in Hoopers Crossing if ya don't count me who's hidin' under a tarpaulin near the spare tyre. So, in reality there's 181 people left in Hoopers Crossin'. It gets hot and it gets cold on that truck which bumps along like my bike over the skin on a Murrumbidgee toad. The old men and Nana get talkin' all the time, but I can't hear a thing they say.
 
I wake up and realise that the truck has stopped. Holy shit! We is in the biggest town I ever saw. There's more blackfellas hangin' round than roos after the rain. They is wavin' a black and red striped flag with a big yella splot in the middle. And they got signs. The Hoopers Creek mob are standin' near that mingy tent I saw on the TV. Aw no! I can see them police buggers marchin' towards them all. They look as mean an emu 'bout ta peck ya eyes out.
 
One of the big buggers grabs Nana Gibson. She hits the big bugger with a sign. I hear her shout, 'Give the blackfellas back their land. Ya worse than the gizzards from a feral cat.' Aw, shit. When Nana Gibson's shoutin' poetry she can be meaner than a bush pig on the charge. She kicks that policeman in the leg. Two big buggers take her by the arms and I can hear her poetry spoutin' above all the noise. I is so mad at that whitefella copper, I jump outa the truck and run after them.
 
'Ya can't take my Nana,' I shout and I jump on one of the big fella's backs and starts shoutin' poetry in his ear. There's a whitefella runnin' long side of the fight. He's talkin into one of them microphones with the black ice-cream cone things on the end. I don't know what he's sayin' 'cos I'm too busy poundin' the copper and shoutin' poetry.
 
The big copper shakes me off like I'm a baby koala on a swingin' branch. He says, 'Listen ya whipper-snapper. I'm gunna arrest...' But, Nana Gibson has swung her free arm right across his chest and he grunts like a fallen drunk.
 
'You low down red-belly, black snake. Take your mitts off my grandson.' The fella with the mike pushes up real close as the coppers stop in their tracks. There's other whitefellas with big cameras right near them. They back off when the man comes too close. I guess Nana Gibson's poetry musta scared 'em good and proper.
 
'So, the police are arresting Aboriginal children and old women, are they now, Constable?' says the whitefella, and he shoves that silly mike into the copper's face.
 
'Sorry, lady,' says the policeman who she kicked,' I, I got a bit carried away. Sorry, sorry, son. You go back with your granny.' They turn and run over to clobber some other blackfellas across near the tent embassy and the fella with the mike talks to us.
 
'Hi,' he says all friendly, 'Mike Willisee, TVN, Channel 9. Would ya like to say something about what's transpired here today? It's so great to see the young and old become involved in Aboriginal rights campaigns.' Nana Gibson looks at the man from TVN 9 like he's walkin' through Hoopers Crossing with his pants down round his knees.
 
'All I gotta say to you, sonny, is that them police buggers have the chicken shit hearts of herd of scabby sheep. And, my grandson here is gunna get his black hide pinned to a coolibah down by the river when his Ma gets a-hold of him.' Mike Willisee looks at Nan Gibson like she's taken his pants off. He doesn't say another word.
 
When Uncle Possum's truck pulls up outside the store next morning, all 179 of Hoopers Crossing's left over folk (minus the Jagemara twin baby boys what sleep at that time) are waitin' and wavin' at the truck.
 
'What's all the fuss 'bout?' calls out Uncle Possum from the driver's window.
 
Frankie calls out, 'You is all famous. We saw youse on TV.'
 
Willie shouts, 'And Markie and Nana Gibson gettin' arrested and the Nana tellin' the buggers where ta go.' The whole mob on the truck go ta the store. Uncle Possum wants to watch TV. He says everyone who went to Canberra can have free Seven Up. Uncle Possum musta left his brains in Canberra, 'cos he never gives anythin' away for free.
 
Sure enough, Mike Willisee's talkin' with Nana Gibson and me on the TV. Frankie says they showed it seven times since the shop opened. 'Aw, wish I had ma best hat on,' says Nana, 'when a blackfella goes ta a whitefella's place, she gotta look prettier than one of those plump, plumed pigeons from the river bank.' All the old folk nod like they been there before.
 
'Three cheers for Nana and Markie,' shouts Uncle Joe Jagemara, and the people wail like someone said holiday.
 
'SssH!' says Les Gibson,'that reporter fella's talkin' 'bout us.' Sure enough, that Mike Willisee from TVN Channel 9 was talkin' into his ice-cream cone again.
 
'Today's extraordinary events in Canberra will go down in history as a triumph for Aboriginal Australians,' says Mike, but no-one knows what he's sayin' really. 'One particularly brave group of protestors came all the way from Hoopers Crossing on the Murrumbidgee to state their cause.' The TV shows pictures of Nana smackin' the policeman and then she starts talkin' to the mike.
 
Everyone's as quiet as a new mornin' on the river bank. Nana says: 'All I gotta say to you sonny, is that them police buggers have the chicken shit hearts of herd ....ZZZZssssZZZZZssssZZZZ.' Them crows don't seem to like Nana and me to have a say. They wiggle that aerial round so them were the blackfellas with the last word. Nana Gibson laughs until her chest wobbles like two hay bales bein' unloaded from a truck.
 
'I'm sendin' them crows to pick on that chicken shit Prime Minister,' says Nana,' They is tougher than titties on a bush cow and they talk more shit than pigsty full of fertility.'
 
I think Nana should be the Prime Minister. Imagine her spruikin' that poetry in Parliament.

 


Recognized


The Aboriginal Tent Embassy

The Tent Embassy started out with four protesters and a beach umbrella. On Australia Day in 1972, a number of Indigenous activists erected a beach umbrella on the lawns of Old Parliament House in Australia's capital, Canberra. They erected a sign that said �???�??�?�¢??Embassy�???�??�?�¢?? to represent a displaced nation. The activists were protesting against the McMahon Liberal Government�???�??�?�¢??s statement in which land rights were rejected.


Over forty years the tent embassy has become an enduring symbol of Aboriginal claims to land rights and other issues of justice. A black, yellow and red land rights flag was first flown at the Tent Embassy in 1972, uniting Aboriginal people from around the country. The flag is now the recognised symbol of Indigenous peoples from all over the continent.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was given heritage value in 1995. The sacred Fire for Peace and Justice in the centre of the site has been tended since 1998. The Sacred Fire for Peace and Justice was first made by Arabunna Elder Kevin Buzzacott and lit by Wiradjuri man Paul Coe in 1998. The Fire provides spiritual healing and inspiration.
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