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Max is wearing a red t-shirt on which is
written in large white letters, and in smaller
black letters through the patterns on it, the
Respect is of huge significance in Max's
life. Not only is he greatly respected now
by younger Aboriginals, but he explains,
respect was integral to his learning. It was
because as a boy he respected his parents,
grandparents and his uncles and aunties,
and did not question their authority when
they told him not to go near a particular
tree or rock, that he was taught so much
and now holds this exceptional legacy
of learning. Inside, he admits, he would
be longing to ask why and question their
authority. But he says he knew that if they
said not to go there, then he had no reason
to. And it could be as long as 15 years later
before he was told why.
Another spirit who comes to Max is
his oldest son, Tony, who hanged himself
in 2000. Max has dedicated My People's
Dreaming to his son and in it he describes
receiving a telephone call from his sister-in-
law with the news. As she sobbed on the
other end of the line, he said, "Son, I forgive
you," and explains that he forgave him for
all the pain he was causing to his family and
© NOVA MAYL 2010
He goes on to talk about Kevin Rudd's
apology to the Aboriginal people in
2008. This really emphasised the Stolen
Generations, he explains, "but I had already
forgiven all of those things".
"I try not to get involved in those
events of Sorry Days," he admits, "because
I don't want to be stuck in that energy of
being sorry and not moving on." When
I hear these words, I realise this is a man
who is truly standing in his own power.
Instead of languishing in what life has
thrown at him, he is waking up every
morning and greeting Grandfather Sun
and welcoming the first day of the rest
of his life.
Max Dulumunmun Harrison's wisdom
and connection with the land is truly
inspiring and it makes me realise how
vitally important it is for people at this
time to really listen and connect to the
earth, and the enormous benefits to be
gained on so many levels if we do.
'He believes the more
people he can teach
about caring for the land,
the greater his legacy.'
Photographs by Peter McConchie and Finch Publishing from My People's Dreaming: An Aboriginal Elder speaks on
life, land, spirit and forgiveness by Max Dulumunmun Harrison and Peter McConchie reproduced with the permission
of Finch Publishing (available in bookshops and at www.finch.com.au)
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Left: The Whale Rock.
Above: Fern frond representing new life and used as
Above: The Rainbow Serpent who went underground
and created all the rivers.
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