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Protest Poetry

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Aboriginal Charters of Rights

We want hope, not racialism,
Brotherhood, not ostracism,
Black advance, not white ascendance:
Make us equals, not dependants.
We need help, not exploitation,
We want freedom, not frustration;
Not control, but self-reliance,

Independence, not compliance,
Not rebuff, but education,
Self-respect, not resignation.
Free us from a mean subjection,
From a bureaucrat Protection.
Let’s forget the old-time slavers:
Give us fellowship, not favours;
Encouragement, not prohibitions,

Homes, not settlements and missions.
We need love, not overlordship,
Grip of hand, not whip-hand wardship;
Opportunity that places
White and black on equal basis.
You dishearten, not defend us,
Circumscribe, who should befriend us.
Give us welcome, not aversion,
Give us choice, not cold coercion,

Status, not discrimination,
Human rights, not segregation.
You the law, like Roman Pontius,
Make us proud, not colour-conscious;
Give the deal you still deny us,
Give goodwill, not bigot bias;
Give ambition, not prevention,
Confidence, not condescension;
Give incentive, not restriction,

Give us Christ, not crucifixion.
Though baptized and blessed and Bibled
We are still tabooed and libelled.
You devout Salvation-sellers,
Make us neighbours, not fringe-dwellers;
Make us mates, not poor relations,

Citizens, not serfs on stations.
Must we native Old Australians
In our land rank as aliens?
Banish bans and conquer caste,
Then we’ll win our own at last.

Aboriginal Charters of Rights

‘Aboriginal Charters of Rights’ is a straightforward declaration of the basic rights for Aboriginal. This poem has exposed inequality, prejudice and suffering faced by the Aboriginal people, due to the uses and abuses of power by the Australian white majority. Oodgeroo has achieved communicating this certain message to the reader through her uses of juxtaposition, repetition as well as using a critical voice.

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