THE FIRST INITIATION IN 150 YEARS
Many people still believe that the Tasmania Aboriginal people are no longer,
others believe that our culture died with the Ancestors.
Ancestors are no more, that is true, and it is also true that the culture they
practiced is no longer. But! Nothing is stagnant, cultures move with the passage
of time and all vibrant living cultures change and adapt with changes in
seasons, invasions, and time.
It is only when a culture is isolated for tens of
thousands of years that a peak is reached and no further forward movement is
necessary. This does not imply that a culture has regressed or is de-evolving as
one archaeologist insisted.
The peak our Ancestors reached was beyond the
comprehension of the invaders. That is why they called us "Stone age and
Culture is more than physical trappings.
Culture is about heritage, unity, traditions that are so old they have become
lost in the beginnings of time. For the Ancestors this was when the world was
without a sun.
Our Smoking Ceremonies were for a variety of purposes many of
which we will never know. We do know that there was a smoking ceremony associate
with initiation to become an Elder. Elders in our Urban Traditional culture
often become so with age or upon becoming a grandparent.
Lydidder (Southern Country all Around) Southern Traditional Elders Council is
bringing back the Traditional culture for the community. We have Seniors Elders
and Elders in training. In Australian and Tasmanian Aboriginal culture we use
the terms Auntie and Uncle as respect for our elders.
Our Spiritual Advisor and Senior Elder is Uncle John Coleman, he is one of
the stolen generation. Uncle John is the only Tasmanian Aboriginal person who
can speak the language of the Ancesters fluently.
Uncle John performed my initiation Ceremony. He called on the Ancestral
Creator and the Spirits of the past to welcome me as an Elder within the
community. It was the first time in 150 years that an Initiation Smoking
Ceremony was performed.
The ceremony took place at Risdon Brook Dam. Today it is
a picnic area but in the past it was a place where the Ancestors were known to
be. It is also adjacent to the place where the first massacre occurred. It was
considered appropriate to use this place by Uncle John as it combined both
worlds the past and the present.
We invited the media to see the public aspects of the ceremony, to inform the
broader public that our culture was alive and practiced.
Pictures from the initiation ceremony.
(Click on each picture to enlarge it)
My initiated name is Tereetee Lore. Tereetee is the name of a woman from the
Big River Tribe, sadly the name is untranslated. The original Tereetee was a
black Aboriginal and as I am a white looking Aboriginal it was considered that
the name represented the changes in our culture.
Lore means white. Thus making
me Tereetee Lore.
A white Tereetee.
At this time I was also given my Dreaming