Defending a sacred site
"If we went into Lismore and trashed a cathedral we'd be put in jail. But when they come here and trash our sacred land they get millions." That was Rob William's Jnr reaction to the proposal to turn a Githubal men's ceremonial and initiation site flanked by 15 scarred trees into a massive open-cut mine.
The most disturbing part of the desecration of such an important site, one that Kevin Boota refers to as "our university," is that developer, landholder, consultants and Githubal all agree that this was a men's ceremonial site of the highest order. No-one is contesting Rob William's Snr claim that "our connection to that place goes back a long way." Nonetheless the mine will soon begin operations.
Earlier this year the Elders and relevant parties were called to meet with the developers, owners and consultants (Everick Consultants Pty Ltd). Secrets were shared, Patsy Nagas, Rob Williams Snr, and a variety of custodians and Elders stood united in voicing their absolute opposition to any form of mining. But the reality was they were wasting their time, the report concluded that since a desk top survey revealed there were no gazetted Githubal sites on the official register, that meant this block of land is merely dirt with valuable rocks underneath waiting to be mined.
None of this and much more is right, but it is legal. It makes no difference, the Githubal are not going to let this sacred site become an open-cut mine of massive proportions. On Sunday, December 2, on the Summerland Way near the Cedar Point Hall from 9am to dusk, they will be holding neither a protest nor occupation of site, but a day of quiet respectful reverence while connecting to culture and country. Songs, dance and ceremony will be offered to the guardian spirits of this sacred site. This day is open to everyone, the more that come the better, as we stand united in a promise to defend this sacred site.