Monday, September 22, 2008

The Cadigal People

Now I'm learning about the Cadigal--the neighbors of the Wangal.

They were both Eora and their language was the Darug language--or a version of it. I'm a bit confused here. Am I always confused? No, not always! Just mostly. Maybe 90% of the time?

The Cadigal territory, according to many websites, lies south of Port Jackson. It's between South Head and Petersham. I had a hell of a time figuring this all out on google maps. I'm not sure what they mean by South Head. Is that South Head Road near Double Bay?   So, that's East. Then Petersham is near Marrickville. This makes sense to me because The Marrickville Council people have that great informative website about the Cadigal and Wangal people.

From what I'm reading, the Cadigals were a bit spread out. Honestly, it all made me very confused and I spent about an hour this afternoon trying to figure it all out. Actually, it wasn't THIS afternoon because by the time I post this it will be a few days later. I rarely post things the day I write them. Is that unethical? I'm not sure if that betrays the etiquette of blogging. Are there rules about that?

Anyway, this afternoon (the one I'm writing in and not the one I'll be posting in) I spent a long time trying to figure out where the Cadigal lived.

I've been a bit slow about Cadigal geography, but I think I have finally figured out the Eora thing. When Philip and his mates met the natives they told the white men that they were "Eora". This meant something like "Here" or "People from here". The white people thought this was there name and I guess it kind of stuck. I think the Cadigal and Wangal people (and others) thought it was probably cute. I don't know. They kept the name. I guess it's like when a toddler mispronounces your name. You find it cute and keep the nickname. That kind of thing.

The Museum of Sydney is located at the place where the Cadigal and British boat people had their first encounter.

I've been to that museum.

You know, some of this research is making me emotional. I don't know. Maybe I'm just getting my period soon. Who knows? But sometimes I read things and I come close to crying. I get this sinking feeling. I don't know. I imagine these people having this relatively peaceful life and then these big ships come.

And I'm not trying to come down hard on white people--well, cause I'm kind of one of them. And Stephen Colbert is white too. He's really cool.

I don't want to get into this white people are cruel, stupid, and evil. The Aborigine people were perfect and peaceful. I know it's not all cut and dry like that.

I do LOVE modern Australia. I really do. I love the modern world. I love all the pretty buildings and museums. I like all the restaurants. I like the great variety of cultures that live in Australia now.

I don't regret that Australia or America was invaded by Europeans. I mean I kind of do.

Oh, I don't know!

I LOVE Australia for what it is now. I guess I just feel so sad for these people having their way of life totally stolen from them.

Today in the car, I started thinking about Bennelong and felt all teary-eyed. Then later I read this:

From the edge of the trees the Cadigal people watched as the strangers of the First Fleet struggled ashore in 1788. We can only imagine what their thoughts would have been.

That made me teary-eyed too.

I don't remember the museum being that close the water. Maybe I'm confused, or maybe the Cadigal had damn good eyesite. Well, maybe I felt far from the water because there are all these streets and buildings now. Without all those buildings, the water might seem much closer.

Level three of the museum has a whole exhibit about the Cadigal people. I don't remember if I saw it or not. I wasn't as interested in Indigenous stuff back then--a little bit, but not as much as now.

There's no definite answer of how long the Cadigal were in the area. Shell Middens, which seems to be their version of trash, suggest they've been around at least 4500 years.

I wonder what part of Australia, the original people first landed then???? I mean the forty or so thousand years ago. I'm guessing it was in the North? I'm just thinking that since it's close to Asia.

Does anyone know this? I'll google it later I suppose.

I found a great Sydney Morning Herald article about an Aboriginal tour you can take.

It talks about the exhibit in the Royal Botanical Gardens. I saw part of this and that almost made me cry too.

I almost-cry a lot. Sometimes, I actually end up crying.

Why do we fight back our tears like that? Is it embarrassment? Shame?

I don't know.

Anyway enough about me and my crying. The article says that Captain Cook was missing a tooth and in Aborigine tradition this meant he was an ancestor. The article says this is why the white people were fairly welcomed at first. Yeah, but then they came back with a lot of ships and the ships carried diseases.

I guess it's like how we'd be if one space ship arrived. We'd all probably be pretty excited. We'd be a little scared, but also friendly and welcoming. But then if a whole fleet of space ships showed up a few years later, and our people started dropping like flies from disease.....Well, I think we wouldn't be so happy about it.

Okay, here are some more scattered facts I found out:

1. The Cadigal called Darling Harbor Tumbalong. This means a place where seafood is found. There's a playground in Darling Harbor called Tumbalong park. We went there. It's where an Ibis pooped on my backpack.

2. Before the Bennelong kidnapping, there was the Araboona kidnapping. He was kidnapped and learned some English. He then went and taught some of what he learned to some of his people. This didn't last long because he soon died from Smallpox.

3. Most of the Cadigal were wiped out from Smallpox. The few who survived lost their beautiful tribal way of life. I think most of them ended up with a pretty shitty life. Despite this though, there are some descendants of Cadigal still living in Sydney today.

There's so much more I want to learn.