Bega's Djiringanj elders flying flag for peace

A FLAG is a symbol to represent a nation, its people, history and culture – a symbol behind which people can gather as one.

One such flag piqued the BDN editor’s interest recently when it appeared at the January 26 screening of Utopia, organised by the Djiringanj and Ngarigo elders.

Some in the community may also have spotted it flying at times at Bega’s Anglican Church or at other local Indigenous events.

It’s a concept designed by local Indigenous elders to represent “sovereignty, peace, respect, harmony and life”.

The colours and images portrayed are intrinsic to this region and worth exploring.

Elders Colleen and Stanley Dixon were all too happy to explain the origins of the flag, “which is everything to do with our culture and our stories”.

Starting from the top, the sky contains both the sun, as giver of life, and Baiame the Creator Spirit, signified by the Southern Cross.

They watch over both Mount Daramulan (Mt Kosciuszko) and Biamanga (Mumbulla Mountain), the sacred mountains of the Ngarigo, Walgalu and Djiiringanj.

They are connected by the red blood line of all people.

Then there is the verdant green of the valley, animals, trees and mountain ranges of the Djiringanj; golden yellow for the beaches and kinship with coastal tribes; and blue for the waters of the Pacific Ocean, provider of food and trade.

Also, rather than shy away from the idea, Ms Dixon said the blue also represents colonisation and the arrival of Europeans to these shores.

“It brings everyone together – white and black,” she said.

“It’s a flag for all our people who want to be represented by it.

“All we ask for is acknowledgement and respect of our people, our ways and our culture.”

The Dixons said the black, yellow and red Koori flag may be more widely recognised and they understand the meaning behind it, but they don’t feel a strong connection to it.

“This is the one of our story…this pinpoints our land,” Mr Dixon said of their own concept design.

“It’s also free of any copyright. It’s a peace flag.

“It’s a very important flag for us Djininganj and Ngarigo people and we hope to get the knowledge out to schools and so on.

“We feel really proud that after a lot of sitting down and talking about it, to actually see the flag become a reality and come alive.”

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