I would like to apologise to any First Nation people for my poem ‘Indigenous Woman’ which was circulated on twitter today. I apologise if the poem hurt anyone. I didn’t mean to. I wrote the poem as a gesture of friendship without thinking about how it may hurt people in the indigenous community. My poetry is very much written in the moment and is a snapshot in time. Many people find my poetry challenging because of this and often my poems contradict each other. This is my poetry. It is my art. It is how I make sense of the world.
This poem was written in response to an incident on October 19th 2017 where I was thrown out of the Australian Women Writers Binders Group which was a group created to support Australian women writers. I had asked a question in the group questioning how the media and how media commentators were handling a particular issue involving an indigenous writer and high school students which I felt would be better handled by the department of education. This question offended some women in the group including a few of the indigenous women in the group which called for my banning from the group. They also referenced how I had questioned the bullying of Mia Freedman in the group in the past as I do not condone bullying of any kind.
Even after repeatedly apologising for offending any indigenous women in the group, I was thrown out and subsequently ignored by the admins even after repeated messaging. I was extremely distressed as they had messaged me to tell me that a post had been put up on the wall of the group saying that I had been banned from the group for repeated racism against First Nation people.
I wrote the poem after this incident and posted it on my social media channels but took it down half an hour later as I realised that within my angst, I may have not been seeing the situation clearly and I have not published or performed the poem since and I do not intend to. However someone screen shot the poem and it has been shared on social media today. I am sorry for any First Nation people who read this poem and were distressed by it or hurt by it. I am truly sorry. There is a line referencing Uluru which I am aware now is very problematic and I want to apologise for this line particularly.
None of the above is an excuse. It is just me adding some context to my poem as my poetry is very much in the moment and sometimes required context to avoid the hurt of others. Thank you.