a case study of the colony – in lutruwita (tasmania) – twentytwenty (in the year of the coloniser). a property called cullenswood (we know that’s not the true name of that place) / was sold for twelve million dollars (in the colonisers currency). after six (one two three four five six) generations of the legge family (who never bought the land / but certainly spilt blood enough to call it theirs) ///
back then (and how long ago it was!) those first legge – after never making a purchase to this place (though justified with the logic of their far-off law) – marched across the land and tore from the earth any person who would remember the land’s true name. and those they could not kill fled – followed by hoards of hard footed hard mouthed square eyed animals (they took from the soil all things – and in turn the humans would take the wools and the meats and the babies of those animals to begin the cycle again) and sell those things from the stolen soil – from the soil they never bought. from the soil too they would seed those plants (those plants with the same origins as the legge) lace the soil with plants that poison the land slowly like a sickness spreading. plant it out and sell that too ///
not satisfied with the surface next they would open wounds across the land. great open sores into the earth called mine. mine mine mine – a word as foundational to the people who can take from others a thing they call mine. they cut the hole (mine) and took from the ground what couldn’t be seen on the surface. stories that swim with ancient fish in quartz coloured streams underground. they took that (those spirits of the land where minerals lie) and sold it off. that thing they stole from the land ///
maybe they felt unsettled or like winds they couldn’t see moved across their souls. the legge built a church (in the colonisers religion) and in this faith they built a yard to place the bodies of the murderers (born and died on a land they stole) buried there in neat wooden boxes (boxes they didn’t afford the people who had always known this land) ///
the legge spread out from the place they named cullenswood and when a legge saw a bird or a mountain or some thing that made them feel some way they named it for them (legge mountain) (legge eagle) as though these things did not have names given to them since before time began – as though these things were not true things that existed before legge. the name spread far and the people of cullenswood said aren’t you glad the legge were here ///
and when there was nothing left to kill – contaminate – extract – they sold the place (that system of wealth that means a thing stolen can be sold) and when they sold it they said – we are the people of this land. six generations (one two three four five six legge) the time it takes two lives to begin and end and the memories run clear. the thing that wasn’t bought can be sold and can be sold on a bloodless deed (for the paper remembers a border drawn and not the bodies who fell) these civilised people put it into law (that death) without looking over their shoulder. and the colony said oh those people who were here didn’t know how to use the land and it wasn’t theirs anyway and ///
no what people before? we are the people of the cullenswood and that is the name of the land.