MAN OF THE LAND: Buagin looks out over the Nambucca River at the site of the Gumbaynggirr Tent Embassy.
MAN OF THE LAND: Buagin looks out over the Nambucca River at the site of the Gumbaynggirr Tent Embassy. TREVOR VEALE

Gumbaynggirr Tent Embassy is aimed at unity

NESTLED on the river bank in the heart of Nambucca Heads lies a place of spirituality, freedom and unity.

Residents of the North Coast may have come across the Gumbaynggirr Tent Embassy over the past couple of weeks.

Buagin, a proud Ngambaa (Nambucca Heads tribe) man, is behind the embassy.

"I set up here a week before Genocide Day,” Buagin said.

"I want to educate my culture on their sovereignty... I hold religious ceremonies here.

"People come down and have a lemon myrtle with me; we make spears, do weaving and make baskets. They can come and connect back with Mother Earth.

"There could be 10 of us here on a day, it's just a place where people come and feel comfortable.”

Buagin at his tent embassy on the  Nambucca river. 28 JAN 2019
Buagin at his tent embassy on the Nambucca River. TREVOR VEALE

The embassy is beside the block of land where 750-year-old remains were found under a house in 2017.

DNA analysis conducted by the Adelaide University confirmed the remains were definitely Aboriginal, ancestrally linked to Gumbaynggirr people.

On the land also stands a sacred Murrbay tree, which is linked with the dreamtime and could provide food for all of the tribes.

Buagin welcomes everyone with open arms to the culturally significant site.

"I'm also here to educate white Australia on the history of this country; they come and learn about Gumbaynggirr... They come down and stand in solidarity with my people.

"They agree with me it's time to grow up, stop brainwashing everyone and tell the true history of Australia.

"I've had support from everywhere and they tell me to stay here because they know I'm doing the right thing.”

Buagin at his tent embassy on the  Nambucca river. 28 JAN 2019
Buagin waves to a passer-by at the front of the Gumbaynggirr Tent Embassy. TREVOR VEALE

It was no coincidence Buagin set up the tent embassy in the week of Australia Day.

January 26 is a date of great pain for Indigenous Australians, Buagin included.

"Change the date, we don't celebrate the Jewish holocaust; so why do you celebrate the holocaust of my people?”

"You're supposed to be civilised people, or that's what you tell me anyway.

"You've got a date, January the 1st, why don't you celebrate then?

"It will do a lot, not just for us but for wider Australia if they change the date.

"They'll be celebrating something positive (on January 1) and not a holocaust of our people.”

While Australia Day remains on January 26 Buagin said the Saltwater Freshwater Festival was on the right path with acknowledging Australia as a nation beyond white settlement.

"It's a great educational platform to educate the wider Australia,” he said.

"Mourn with us in the morning and maybe after 12pm start celebrating or whatever. I just want the nation to come together and mourn with us.”