White cockatoo, black crow

By Rachel Borneman

My Indigenous nanna, Rachael, and I were sitting on a rug outside a Women’s Conference in 2009. Rachael was sharing about how she saw a black crow and white cockatoo flying together and it reminded her of God’s call for his people to work together in unity.

While she was still speaking, someone called out ‘Rachel’ and both of our heads turned. Because I am a muninga (whitefella), my nick name then became ‘white cockatoo’ and the other Rachael became known as ‘black crow’.

A few years later, Wendy (Rachael’s sister) shared with us, first to her sister Rachael W (black crow), ‘You know how you’re living in Adelaide? Well, you are learning whitefella way, just like how your last name starts with W.’

Then she turned to me, saying, ‘You know how your last name starts with B? Well, you’re learning blackfella way by living in Katherine, learning Kriol, and the Indigenous way of life.’

It is special to have a connection to my nanna Rachael, not just through our given names but also through the bond of friendship we share as the white cockatoo and black crow.

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