Return to Kanyini…

A few years ago I wrote about this film on TFT;

Back in 2008 I wrote this;

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 mother, 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 genocide, in which everything ans almost everyone who was part of the oldest culture in the world was all but destroyed.

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 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

  • spirituality

  • land

  • family

I am reposting this partly because I found the film in full (as above), but also because I think that this list is a good one to consider as we look again at the year to come this is a good place to start.

If life for the people in this film started to unravel as they lost connection with the things above- might the same be true for us?

How do we challenge this, for ourselves and our communities? Our connection to something we can believe in/live for, our connection to the divine, our love of where we are located, our existence within an extended family (whether or not we have blood ties.

May 2013 be your year of Kanyini.