Kath Walker's Aboriginal Character of Rights
The manner in which Walkerexpresses her views in the poem is
reflective of her background, experience and knowledge. Given that
Walk was removed from her family at a young age and made to assimilate
with white society, she is able to present an unbiased view of the
issue at hand, that is, the needs of the "native old Australians" to
no longer be "rank(ed) as aliens" in what was once their own land.
Walkermakes a social commentary that dwells upon various social issues
concerning specifically the rights and needs of the Aboriginal
community. She voices a general concern regarding equality on behalf
of her people. Emerging from the principle theme of equality are the
basic and life-altering needs that the Aborigines call for. The most
basic needs are also courteous deeds. Aborigines are longing for
"help" in times of assistance, to be "welcome(d)" and to have a
"choice" in life.
A need for an end to stereotyping and racial prejudice is expressed in
the use of wording chosen by Walker. She articulates her anger towards
defamation directed at the Aboriginal community. Walker feels the
strong need for white society to stop "libelling" and defaming
Aborigines as "fringe-dweller" that reside within "missions"
"Aboriginal Character of Rights" encompasses Walkers innermost hopes,
thoughts and emotions - all of which reflect upon the unjustly
treatment of the Indigenous people throughout history. Walker presents
a social commentary through poetry that comprehensively reviews the
common rights of all Aboriginal people. She openly comments on her
people's status within society and relentlessly questions the rights
'given' to them. In salvaging words such as "give" and "make us" being
directed to the whites, there is an extreme emphasis placed on the
white community. It appears that Walkers plea on behalf of her culture
is able to be fulfilled by the whites.
In expressing her thoughts regarding the need for social justice and
quality, Walker conveys an element of anger, criticism, truth and
reflection. By using various language devices such as intentional
wording, positioning of text, emotive language and juxtapositioning,
Walker effectively communicates her concerns to the audience.
"You dishearten, not defend us"is an economical line that is capable
of displaying her anguish and anger towards the whites. The first word
"You" displays the ordinance of her poem. "You", a word in itself is
an accusative verb that places direct blame and generates strong
connotations to the reader. By intentionally beginning the stanza with