A wonderful article came up in my news feed a few weeks ago and I haven’t made time to write about it. In lieu of a proper post, here is a link to the article Sacred sites: Alice Springs Aboriginal elder leads tours in bid for better understanding published on the ABC new website. The words of senior Arrernte woman Doris Stuart, who is featured in this article, resonate deeply with me. She, like many other Indigenous elders around the Australia continent, are sharing their stories for country with non-Indigenous people. My own experience of walking country with elders and hearing dreaming stories is that it has opened up for me new ways of seeing and relating with the land.
Doris says this about being with her country:
“You could feel that power coming out, you know, because that was your connection, you had your identity … Family had to close their eyes because these are family we’re talking about, they’re not just trees; we’re one and the same.”
2 responses to “Stories for country: seeing the land in new ways”
This article captures really well the attitude of mainstream Australian culture which is all about getting to the destination as fast as possible, the wandering paths of Indigenous cultures, followed with a deep respect for the sacred and navigated using sensitive organs of intuition rather that GPS, allow a connection with place on a fundamentally more profound level. We continue to roll out our version of culture, shaped sign posted paths, straight roads, place consuming suburbs of consumers, coal mines, shaping the land in a way we can digest, a processed landscape, bad for all of us at a profound level, fatal to the Aboriginal community.
I love your comment, it definitely resonated with me. Yes, the art and necessity of navigating ‘using sensitive organs of intuition’ has been lost to many who have embraced other ways of being in the world. It is critical that this sensitivity to connect with and ‘read’ place be awoken if we are to shift our relationships with place from one guided by domination and exploitation to working in harmony with place.