First Contact

Stumpy Brown is a Wangkujanka woman who lives at Christmas Creek in the Kimberley. Stumpy has seen many changes throughout her lifetime but nothing so dramatic, when as a teenager, she saw a white man for the first time.

It actually gets even better. Certain islanders who lived on an islands with an airstrip believed the airplanes were gods, and came to love the goods the received from the supply drops so much that years after the war ended, they constructed wooden plan replicas on the abandoned runway in hopes that it would cause the gods to return to drop more supplies.

When my grandmother was very young, living in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, her brother and her were having a fight. It was getting to be about dusk and the sun was setting when he locked her out of the house and said that “The Devils gonna come and getcha!”

Not too long after that, just up the road she saw 2 bright lights appear and then a horrible sound that sounded like the howl of the devil! It was coming closer and closer to the house making a terrible racket!

My grandmother was so scared she peed in her dress and beat on the door until it nearly came off the hinges before my great grandfather and grandmother finally came to the door to see what was going on.

Turns out it was my great grandfathers friend who had just bought himself a new automobile. He was the first one in the area to own one and he decided that was the night to come out to show my grandfather.

The howl, was the horn AAAAOOOOOGA! Might as well have been the devil so far as my grandmother was concerned.

I have family in Laos, who have distance family in the jungles of Laos. We once went to visit my dad’s aunt or something along those lines. They were so remote that during the rainy season, their roads were flooded so access to them was impossible usually.

Their village didn’t have electricity. It was surreal. Kids were butt naked. They had little money but insisted on cooking us 3-4 eggs. The eggs were chicken eggs but had as much meat to them as quail eggs.

They were amazed at my light skin. Mind you, I’m Asian. Not even a light skin one like a Japanese or Korean, but more along the lines of “Trump tan”. They kept touching it and asking me how I’m so light skinned. I told them the sun barely exists in Minnesota’s harsh winter.

Even though I’m ethnically Lao, I would say I’m the first “westerner” they’ve ever met. They were perplexed. Some of the kids were scared of me because of how light skinned I was compared to them.

This video brought me back to that encounter for some reason.

This will probably get buried, but I believe (but can’t know for sure), judging from the time period, that the priest she came across in Balgo would have been my great uncle. He died a few years ago now, but said this was very regular, largely uncontacted Aborigines coming out of the desert. Some stayed, some didn’t. I visited Balgo and another community, Beagle Bay, where he spent a lot of his time and it made me very happy to see the extremely high regard that the local peoples seemed to hold him in.

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