As the Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined comes to an end after six months and 95 video broadcasts, it is fitting that proud Mutti Mutti man Kutcha Edwards should be the closing act. Kutcha, who is a singer, storyteller, activist and community leader, opened the festival back in May with a Welcome to Country.
Like other festival performers, Uncle Murray Harrison, Uncle Jack Charles, Uncle Talgium Edwards and Professor Deborah Cheetham AO, Kutcha is a survivor of the Stolen Generations and he is hopeful that the telling of their stories throughout the festival will be like dropping pebbles of knowledge that will create greater ripples of understanding of Australia’s unsavoury past and its ongoing impact.
‘I look at the injustice that's handed out to my people. I look at my own journey and, you know, I didn't burgle a house, I didn't steal a car, I didn't rob an old lady for a purse. I was born in a country where, prior to 1778, the only colour of the people on this continent was black and to be torn from my mother and father's hands because of the colour of my skin, where's the justice in that?’
Kutcha regularly speaks with school groups, combating commonly held ‘sad untruths’ such as the answer he invariably gets from school children when he asks them why Captain Cook is famous.
‘It's like, hold on, how can you discover a country when there are already people here? And then the pebble has been dropped, and I'll say, “Can you promise me that when you go home this afternoon, you will tell your mum and dad we're sitting down together at the kitchen table tonight and we're going to have a conversation about Stolen Generations?” Then we'll do a pinkie promise,’ Kutcha says.
‘It's like, hold on, how can you discover a country when there are already people here?'
Kutcha has ‘dropped pebbles’ at several Seniors Festivals over the years and he hopes to be involved in many more.
‘I'm 55 and, to be honest, being Aboriginal and a man, statistics suggest that I won't be here in two years. That's the sad reality. But I hope that I have more work to do, a lot more to give and a lot more to pass on.’
Watch Kutcha's Seniors Festival Reimagined interview and performance