Thanks to the heads up from Craig in Australia, I have been doing some research and thinking about the concept of Kanyini. Craig was kind enough to send this to me in connection to some ‘wilderness meditations’ we are working on- finding locations to provide cues and context for drawing close to God (some of this stuff can be found here; www.aoradh.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=category§ionid=24&id=80&Itemid=62)
The concept of kanyini has been brought to us by a beautiful man called Bob Randall who grew up as an aboriginal boy on the outskirts of a cattle station in central Australia. His father was a farmer of Scottish extraction, but appears to have had no concern for him at all. Like 50,000 other black kids of mixed race (between 1910 and 1970) he was forcibly removed from his family, and sent to school hundreds of miles from home. He was forced to learn the rules of white culture- the clothes, the way of life, the religion. He learnt to appreciate the contradictions between the words of Jesus, and the actions of these, his followers. Since then, he has been a welfare worker, a songwriter, and author, and now, works with Australia’s black community.
To be a native Australian in these times is to be part of a community with huge problems- health, crime, substance misuse, soaring suicide rates. It is a community living in the shadows of the sky scrapers of new Australia, but also in the shadow of what amount to a genocide, in which everything about what has been described as the oldest culture in the world has been all but destroyed.
But it is also the story of a Diaspora of westerners (particularly Celts from Ireland and Scotland) often still under the shadow of their own experience of oppression and injustice, who become in turn the oppressors, murderers and rapists of a whole culture.
It is their story, but it is also ours. It is the story of what happens when we become disconnected from who we are.
Because to hear Bob Randall speak(check out the links below) is to feel the pull of something wonderful. He describes a culture where people are connected to land. Birds, trees, all living things- they are family. The proof of this connection is that we are… alive! And because everything is connected, everything is OURS, not MINE. Everything is already created in a perfect state and our job is to become part of it.
Bob describes his memory of life as a kid like this;
These were beautiful people, because they lived in a beautiful way.
Bob’s concept of Kanyini feels right. It has simple truth- and seems to encapsulate the idea of community as I understand it should be. It has 4 components
- belief system
I very much recommend checking out the film about Bob from the schools site below, or there are other links to the Kanyini film on the second link.