The Past - Oodgeroo Noonucal (Kath Walker)

Oodgeroo Noonucal's poem The Past is about an old lady living in the inner city reflecting on the Dreaming and reflecting on her childhood with her tribe. She still remembers the old days and still believes in the Dreaming and that it is powerful. She wrote her way in order to get this message across easily. Noonucal was prevented from becoming a nurse because she was Aboriginal. She was very ware of the stolen generation issues and became included in Aboriginal rights activism. Because of her own experiences she realised the discrimination against Aboriginals.
It appears that the poet is constructing the voice of someone midstream of conversation. The persona is arguing that for indigenous people the past is not dead. She is defending the idea that the Dreaming is the past and present continuum. The constructed voice appears to be that of an old lady to authentically engage the reader.
In the lines "In easy chair before electric heater… I fall into a dram: I am away at the camp fire in the bush" We get the image of an old lady sitting in front of the heater in a lounge chair. She is dreaming or reflecting on her childhood in the bush and the freedom. She reflects the idea that she feels she is part of nature. Reflecting on the idea that she used to live in a tribal manner but is now living in an urban manner.
Noonucal uses first person singular in the line "Tonight here in suburbia as I sit" to establish intimacy and immediacy with the reader. In order to position us to understand the significance of her childhood and how her aboriginality is to her. The writer is trying to encourage us to understand that the past for this old lady is still part of her present life, Noonucal believed that I was important that the public knew about the importance of how Aboriginality is to Aboriginals. She is trying to improve black and white relations in this country.
"My own people, sitting on the ground" creates a valid image of the tribe sitting at the campfire among the...