The Killing of a River

A man sits in a dry river bed
One hand raised
Sand slipping through his fingers.
A poignant rendering of the vanished water flow.

This is Australia.
Today.
The man is of the Barkandji Nation
The river, he not too long ago would have swum in,
is the Barka, or Darling River as the English called it.
Part of the mighty Murray-Darling River system
that flows, correction flowed, 
through the South-East of the continent.

The Barkandji, People of the Barka,
have drank, fished and played along the river for
thousands of years.
Until now.
2019: the water stolen,
like the land was in the 1800s,
for crops, cattle, mines and all things money making.
And so continues the cultural genocide 
of the First Peoples of this land.
So continues the killing of this land.

A Cree Prophesy states
“Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”

I hope that it will not come to that.
Yet…

A man sits in a dry river bed
One hand raised
Sand slipping through his fingers.
A poignant rendering of the vanished water flow.

The ruling party politicians only talk about
increasing water flow to grow fodder
to feed the cattle 
that can be sold in lucrative markets overseas.
There is no mention of the rivers health.
And so it comes back to the money.
That cannot be eaten, that cannot be drunk,
that can never compensate for the fragmenting 
of a peoples’ culture.
Or the destruction of whole communities of life.

10 years on from the first Apology
and Australia has not changed.
The killing of a river, just another item on the list
for future Australians to say sorry for.

One thought on “The Killing of a River

  1. Hi dinali Beautiful and sad, the losses are so great are t they? When will we stop them stealing everything?

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