Ghillar, Michael Anderson (Nyoongar Ghurradjong Murri Ghillar)
Law/Lore and The Moral Taught Through Story
“To every story belongs a song. To every story belongs a dance. To every story belongs a person. To every story belongs a place. And they all connect when we go through the ceremonies.”
Ghillar, Michael Anderson, was taught Euahlayi customs and traditions through his people’s sacred ceremonies. His is involved with connecting the sacred songlines of the ancient traditions of Aboriginal peoples around the world in an attempt to prove that they have a Dreaming that links them to the original creation.
“I was fortunate to have grown up with my family and senior Lawmen and Lawwomen of the Euahlayi and far Western Gomeroi, who secretly handed on ancient knowledge in ceremonies. These men and women were born in the late 1880s and early 1890s, all were taught by their grandparents, who in most cases were the generation who first saw the whitemen come into their Country when they were teenagers. I have been encouraged by our People to share with the broader Euahlayi community and the far western Gomeroi, the Stories of the universe that can be told publicly. I have been doing this though oral presentations and now for a broader audience in the recently premiered film Star Stories of The Dreaming. In these Star Stories I have revealed ancient Stories of the stars, the Blackholes and the creation of the natural world that we all now belong to.”
Ghillar is the National Convenor of the Sovereign Union, a new political movement in Australia that is promoting worldwide the continuing sovereignty of indigenous peoples, a Senior Lawman and Cultural Knowledge Holder for the Euahlayi Nation and Peoples, and, on behalf of his people, the Native Title claimant to Euahlayi traditional lands in north-western New South Wales. He runs a sheep and cattle property on his ancestral lands that cross the New South Wales and Queensland border in the lower Ballone river system. Ghillar has also lectured in Aboriginal studies and Aboriginal politics at several Australian universities, writing and teaching units in Aboriginal studies that were inclusive of traditional Aboriginal society.
For many decades, Ghillar has been a human rights activist. In 1969 he was a leader in the Australian Black Power movement. In 1979 he was appointed to the Office of Public Prosecutions in criminal law as an instructing officer (the equivalent of a solicitor) in the state of New South Wales.
In 1972 his peers appointed him as the first Aboriginal ambassador to white Australia after he and three comrades established what was later called the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the front lawns of Australia’s parliament house.[On 27 January at 1.00 am in the morning, four Aboriginal men: Michael Anderson, Billie Craigie, Tony Coorey, and Bertie Williams arrived in Canberra from Sydney and set up the Aboriginal Tent Embassy by planting a beach umbrella on the lawn of Parliament House (old Parliament House)].
In 1973 Gough Whitlam made arrangements for Ghillar to go to the United States to see firsthand how America was ‘dealing with the causes and outcomes of the 1960s, 1970s racial conflicts’. It enabled Ghillar to be present at the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee, and, after the siege to meet with the Wounded Knee leaders at the New York University.
Whitlam further requested that Ghillar spend time with Australia’s mission to the United Nations, under the tutelage of Richard Butler, Australia’s Ambassador to the UN. Ghillar felt inspired by the profound insights into racial conflicts and human rights he gained.
Full details of further First Nation presenters will follow shortly. What we can share with you right now is:
Bundjalung Elder and Wahrla-Bal Custodian of the Gidabal Tribe, Uncle Lewis Walker will offer, amongst other things, a welcome to country.
Rod Williams, Bundjalung, will teach us about economy from an Aboriginal community perspective – a holistic approach that includes culture, social justice, environmental protection and business development.
Five senior women, Elders and Custodians of the Arrernte (Alice Springs) will share their knowledge of their cultural understanding of the deep intertwining roots that hold all Australian Aboriginal people, of the integrity of indigenous culture and traditional education and community relationships, and of traditional Arrernte healing and medicine.