“We are the Bird Tribes…We did not ‘come’ here, we were always here…we were ‘made ’here”. …Marlene Boyd
Women are rarely mentioned in the Anthropological literature as owners of country in their own right or as decision making individuals; they appear as wives and mothers, their relationship to the Bootheram always mediated through another….but this is not always Traditional Lore way…
Millie Boyd was an exception to European patriarchal thinking, and so was her Mother Charlotte Williams [nee. Brown] because they maintained their ancestral lore traditions after invasion and in spite of European Authorities
I was very blessed to have known and worked with the late Mrs. Marlene Boyd….Charlotte Williams was her Grandmother…..Marlene was an amazing being. She loved her country – Ngarakbal country, the beautiful Tweed Caldera…..She told me about her Grandmother’s Bootheram, the Fairy Emu Dreaming….It’s a ‘traveling’ Bootheram – the transcontinental songline – which commences in the Ngarakbal ancestral estate – first place to feel the dawn light of Mother Sun…..It tells the ‘Dreaming Lore’ of one of the Ngarakbal and Githabals supreme creation ancestor ‘Nguthungalli’ who walks towards the west creating the geological features of the landscape as he travels…..He ‘sings’ everything into existence…..
…”….A big rock stands in the sea six miles from Byron Bay
A man named Nguthungulli made that rock. Nguthungulli is our Father. He’s the Father of the whole world. He’s the man we’ve got to be afraid of. No matter what we do wrong, or where we do it, He’ll know. And no man has seen Him…”……Extract form the Fairy Emu Dreaming by Charlotte Williams [Brown]
Marlene Boyd spent a lot of time insisting to me that her people were always ‘here’……..”We did not come here, we were always here…We were made in the west….We are the bird tribes” she would state emphatically……and then she would ‘sing’….
The Boyd and Williams’s families and their relations are survivors of the crown invasion – post colonisation of Terrra Nullius….Australia – Ancient Island of the Bird Tribes which Marlene said was the origin of all the tribes upon the planet….
The whole Ngarakbal and Githabal community is extremely proud of who they are and what they represent….and deservedly so, for the Ngarakbal and Githabal descendants have always been involved at the ‘coalface’ of indigenous political, environmental and, indeed, scientific developments heaped upon then by government and the crown…..
on Tuesday the 15th of May 1770…..For their association goes way, back……into the Dreaming, which they call Bootheram…..way, way, way, back…..
.”The Bootheram is one continuous moment STRETCHED – across time and space”, Marlene told me…..”It’s made in the mountains. It’s made in the water….They can take our land, but they will never take our Bootheram”, she would say……She was a proudly Traditional Lore Woman from a very long line of the same, and even though we would be sitting in my beach shack [which had become the Ngarakbal/Nganduwal Aboriginal ‘office’], when she spoke her Lore, she meant business, and the spirit of her ancestors came through her loud and clear……
Marlene was very ‘strong’ about who she was and who the Ngarakbal and Githabal are, and of their place within the ancestral tribes of this ancient continent, of which she insisted had always been ‘here’….…
“We are the Bird Tribes….We did not ‘come’ here, we were always here….We were ‘made’ here….”…when she said this she wasn’t just refereeing to Aboriginal Australians, no, she meant the global peoples – from “the time before time – way, way, way, back”….and she wasn’t the only one saying this either….
“They say we have been here 60,000 years. But it is much longer. We have been here since the time before time began … All other peoples of the world come from us.” ……Aboriginal Elder: Page 122 – “Voices of the First Day”
Marlene’s ancestors had been extensively studied by the scientific academics since colonial times and a great raft of research has been collated specifically about these families….one of those academic studies shows the blood sampling that was taken of her grandparents and great grandparents by the government of the early 1900’s….
Now, the Ngarakbal ancestral women’s ‘Skin Lore’ is Biological Genetics in Native Science….the basis of ‘Skin Lore’ determines ‘right way’ marriages, but is by no means limited to just that…like all Lore it has multi dimension facets and layers of meaning……It’s important to remember that an isolated island nation, like Australia, needed to be mindful of avoiding inter-relation marriages that could weaken the genetic strength and health of its people….and so the ‘Skin Lores’ govern that strictly…..it’s matrilineal descent recorded in totem of bloodline descent – through Grandmothers….much like MitochondrialDNA [MtDNA]…
Marlene was adamant that contemporary science was wrong….that, “the Aboriginal people didn’t walk out of Africa” and that it was actually the other way around…She insisted that the ‘Skin Lore’ would show that…..So, she got me to research the science and then we started lobbying government to use MtDNA in Native Title…The by-product of all this Science v’s ‘Skin lore’ was that she showed me, that what she was insisting appeared to be quiet valid….
The research found that in the last 20 years major advances had been made in the study of blood samples, and, interestingly, they directly challenge any supposed African link to Australia’s ancestral people, and dramatically extend the purported 60,000 years of occupation by ancestral tribes to a FAR, FAR GREATER timescale…this had occurred because of advances in cellular and molecular biology – genetics and their origins….To date, even the scientists who first established the “Out of Africa” theory have readdressed their own work and now concede that Australia appears to be the birthplace of ALL modern human beings….
Most notable of these scientists is Rebecca L. Cann, who is currently Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa…. Cann was the geneticist who made a scientific breakthrough on mitochondrial DNA variation and evolution in humans, popularly called ‘Mitochondrial Eve’….. Her initial discovery and theory was that all living humans are genetically descended from a single African mother who lived <200,000 years ago….this became the foundation of the Out of Africa theory, which she assisted in developing whilst a doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Alan Wilson, the then Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley…… Wilson was a pioneer in the use of molecular approaches to understanding evolutionary change and reconstruct phylogenies, and a revolutionary contributor to the study of human evolution…..They had checked all the facts and they were sure that they were right…but they weren’t……
After graduating from Berkeley, Cann continued her mtDNA research. She has since stated that…..“Mitochondrial DNA puts the origin of Homo sapiens much further back and indicates that the Australian Aboriginals arose over 400,000 years ago from two distinct lineages, far earlier than any other racial type.”…..….and further, that……….“The Aboriginal racial group has a much higher rate of mutations than any other racial group, which suggests that the Aboriginals split off from the common ancestor about 400,000 years ago. By the same theory, the Mongoloid originated about 100,000 years ago, and the Negroid and Caucasians about 40,000 years ago.”….
And Professor Cann was not alone in these findings either…Her ‘new’ research led Wilson to visit Australia in 1985 and he too has had to reformulate his previous theory of “Out of Africa”…more and more eminent scientist then added to the ‘picture’ of our global human origins
Roy Simmons of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory states, “Australian data indicated that the Aborigines actually evolved earlier than the African Negroes. There was no blood evidence to indicate the African Negroes had any connection to the Australian Aborigines.”…..
Professor Lanarch of Sydney University concurred with Simmon’s insistence the Australian Aboriginals stand alone. “We therefore have no hesitation in omitting the Negritos as the ancestors of the Australian Aborigines.” ….
Cann and Simmons, along with a growing number of academics have now concluded that Aboriginal people are far more genetically diverse than any other population….according to Cann, 10 times more than Africans….
Added to the scientific findings was the voice of Keith Windshuttle, an Australian writer and historian [authored The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, etc]……Windshuttle stated that “fifty years of blood genetic research has failed to provide any clue to Aboriginal origins”…and elaborated with … “May I state here and now that our extensive blood surveys conducted in Australia, Indonesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, produced no genetic evidence that the Negro even entered the Pacific.”
It seemed that everything Marlene was telling me from the Bootheram was the truth…”Forget everything they taught you Stella and begin again with the Lore”, she told me…it was blind leap of faith to begin with, but over time the Bootheram always turns up trumps……
One day I’d asked Marlene, why would the government academics collude to keep this amazing information so secretive?…..Was it because of maintaining land tenure?…..Was it to thwart Native Title recognition of Traditional Ownership pre-crown?… Could this whole ‘Out of Africa’ concept be part of a global government ideology to maintain tenure and control of the global sovereign lands…and could this be why they change the maps and the original geospatial linguistic attributions of the names on those maps?….Marlene smiled……”Now you’re getting it girl” she said……….
What a wise old woman….
I’ll post the full Fairy Emu Dreaming [in full] in the future, and the Song of Wao – that accompanies it … as only extracts appear on this site at the moment…will also post some of the lobby documents in the future too….so, if you’re interested subscribe to my newsletter so you’ll get them…and check out Sean O’Shea – Byron Bay Artist…..some of his beautiful photo’s feature in my posts…just click on his website is in my links…..Hoo Roo