Across our vast and ancient continent, First Nations Australians have often questioned the word ‘Reconciliation.’
The mob, generally, don’t question the need for, or the desire to, ‘walk together’ within our stunning country, however, the word ‘reconciliation’, some say, would suggest we have been conciliated with the colonisers of our land.
As there has never been a treaty, nor true and real compensation for the abhorrent policy of removing our children from family and our inherent culture — how do we reconcile when we have never conciliated in the first place?
Wajuk, Balardung, Kija and Yulparitja man and staunch Aboriginal rights activist Clinton Pryor of Western Australia knows this truth. In 2017, at 27-years-old, he was driven by an unrelenting and passionate calling from his heart through the spirit of his ancestors to walk 6,000 kilometres from the Western Australian capital of Perth to the political epicentre of Canberra.
There, he planned to meet and address the then-Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, with regard to the pain and direct injustice many of our people across the country still experience to this day.
Although this ‘meeting’ didn’t go as well as Pryor would have hoped, with both Pryor and Indigenous elders that supported and accompanied him to the meeting, left feeling that the Prime Minister and the then-Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Nigel Scullion, had been ‘disrespectful.’
Pryor reported that Mr Turnbull had ‘spoken over him’ and that his ‘list of demands’ had fallen on ‘deaf ears’. Despite this, once the young Pryor had completed his impressive journey, a phenomenal seed was planted within the minds and hearts of a nation that will inevitably continue to grow indefinitely.
This ‘seed’ has, in fact, turned into a tidal wave of unrelenting support for Pryor, who was, nominated for Young Australian of the Year this year.
This year, a song was written and performed by two phenomenal Australian recording artists, Yirrmal Marika of Yirrkala, Arnhem Land and Jordie Lane of Thornbury, Melbourne in honour of Clinton Pryor and his remarkable ‘spirit’ walk. ‘For Everyone’ includes a corresponding music video, directed and produced by independent multi award-winning film-maker Darius Devas.
This upbeat, lyrically strong and melodic track couples as the score for Devas’ documentary film The Spirit Walker – Clinton’s walk for justice.
“It was such a great experience working with Yirrmal and Jordie to put the message and essence of Clinton’s journey into song, and I think they have been able to do that in such a positive and uplifting way,” Devas told NITV.
“Clinton is such an incredible example of what is possible if you put your mind and heart into it. Although I think it was terrible the way he was treated by the then Prime Minister, I think his action has had a big impact (nation- wide and internationally) and he is an amazing role model for young Indigenous Australians,” he said.
The clip is beautifully shot portraying the deeper truth of authentic ‘reconciliation,’ as the two singer/songwriters — Yirrmal and Jordie — come together in shared admiration of brother Clinton Pryor, and of each other.
“When my manager said …Jordie Lane, I was like…Jordie Lane! Yes, of course [I want to work with him!]” Yirrmal said.
Lane said he felt ‘exactly the same’, about Yirrmal, grandson of the late Youthu Yindi front man Dr Yunupingu.
“Yirrmal was the ultimate person to collaborate with, to write a song and sing with, so I was over the moon to be able to do it [with him],” Lane said.
The clip has a stirring opening, with a beautiful flow of depth in a strong haunting voice leading into the guitar riffs of ‘For Everyone.’ The opening states that Clinton’s spirit walk was ‘one of the biggest protest walks in recorded history.’
‘For Everyone,’ is truly for everyone, with the brilliant voices of black and white musicians coming together in awe of the determination of a man who adores the ground he walks on; his mission for equally has deep reverence and love for his people.
There is no doubt that Pryor has inspired a generation of Australians, of all backgrounds, to see and know the truth, of the original custodians that continue to push forward with a vital culture against the odds.
I follow the river of the Milky Way, gotten me through the night
I know we can walk together
I know we can stand together
For Everyone …
“My music is all about Aboriginal rights in our country, and how we feel and how we see it …
“We need to have treaty or sovereignty in our rights…with respect to Clinton we are honoured to be involved,” Yirrmal said.
Documentary The Spirit Walker — Clinton's Walk for Justice airs Tonight, 7.30pm on NITV (Ch. 34) or stream on SBS on Demand.