A documentary shines a light on the impact Captain James Cook’s arrival in Australia had and continues to have on First Nations people on the NSW South Coast, 250 years after he sailed past the shores.
“Yuin people were the first to see the ship sailing up the coast, so we had a lot of different stories about the Endeavour,” co-director of Yuwinj Dhari-Bulwal and Djiringanj elder Warren Ngarrae Foster said.
“When I was at school it was just about Captain Cook being the first man to discover Australia and all that jazz.
“It’s important for us to tell our stories about the effects of James Cook and the effects it had on our language, culture and children.”
Different elders, communities and young people contributed to Yuwinj Dhari-Bulwal, which means Yuin Stand Strong.
Mr Foster said the impact of Captain Cook’s arrival was still felt though unemployment, the judiciary system, the removal of children and “just plain racism and discrimination”.
“I just hope people open their eyes and their heart towards the Indigenous people of this land, knowing that we didn’t give the land up, we never sold the land, it was taken from us,” he said.
“It wasn’t won in a war like other lands. But if it was taken from us by a war – we never signed any treaty.”
Despite the lingering effects of Captain Cook, he also said the film shows that Yuin people still have a strong culture on the land.
“We are still standing strong here today,” he said.
Producer and co-director of Yuwinj Dhari-Bulwal Hiromi Matsuoka said the film began as part of a larger project between Eurobodalla Shire Council and the National Museum of Australia to put on a live show in the Batemans Bay Botanical Gardens with recordings of the elders as well as a performance of First Nations dancers.
But, due to how the gardens were damaged in the recent bushfires and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reborn into a film.
Ms Matsuoka hoped to enter the film into festivals in Australia as well as overseas.
“The importance of the film is that despite everything that has happened to the Indigenous cultures since the arrival of Captain Cook, the culture is still alive, thriving and growing with the transmission of knowledge from elders to the younger ones in the community,” she said.
“It’s going through a real resurgence at the moment and I hope people come away from the film with that feeling.”