One of the ways Lutheran Care is approaching this year’s Reconciliation Week theme, ‘Be a Voice for Generations’, is by amplifying the voices and messages of First Nations singer/songwriters.
Tony Minniecon is an Adelaide-based Kabi Kabi man, originally from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He is a First Nations leader who as part of his consultancy, Buddy Up – Best Practice, delivers Cultural Awareness Training to Lutheran Care staff on Kaurna land.
He is also well known in the Adelaide music scene, and wrote his song, ‘The Truth’, after he was inspired by a dream the night before.
“I dreamt of a long hallway and in the hallway were lots of dusty filing cabinets,” Tony shares.
“I wiped one down with my hands before I opened it and looked at my hands and they were red, red from the dust that came off the cabinets.
“I opened the drawer of the one I cleaned and found documents; there were pages and pages of recommendations Aboriginal people have discussed over the years. Lots of these documents were written before I was born.
“As I opened each page, red dust poured out of them.
“On one of the pages was the Uluru Statement from the Heart to achieve justice, recognition and respect.
“There were many others, written recordings of recommendations Aboriginal people have voiced over the years, the answers to our problems that colonisation bestowed upon us. Answers to generations of trauma were written in these documents and ignored by the very people that asked us to sit with them to come up with answers to our issues.
“The song is about the truth that our ancestors have been trying to point to for many years; walk beside us, not behind or in front, we will show you the paths to take for our healing and once the truth is told your healing will begin, because only the truth will set us all free.”
The song is a hopeful invitation to Australians to “step into our world/Look around and see/We’ve been waiting patiently”, and epitomises the spirit of reconciliation.
The lyrics reference Vincent Lingiari, who famously protested for fair rights for Aboriginal workers and inspired the Paul Kelly song From Little Things Big Things Grow. The video clip for the song features the iconic photo of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, pouring a handful of red sand into Vincent’s Lingiari’s hand. The clip also features snapshots of key moments of progress in the rights of Aboriginal people, including former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Apology to the Stolen Generations. First Nations viewers should be aware that the footage includes people who have died.
We thank Tony for allowing us to share his song, which he performs as a duet with fellow Adelaide artist Ellie Lovegrove. Ellie is a proud First Nations woman of Ngarrindjeri heritage, who previously made it to the Top 10 on reality singing competition, The Voice.
You can watch their performance, recorded at Adelaide Recording Studios, here: