Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Indigenous Wisdom


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Ancient survivors of this land have a genuine spiritual connection which white fellers have not been able to understand. Aboriginal people know well that no man can take land with him when he leaves. We can never own the earth, earth is our source of nourishment, shelter and store place of all living organisms, every thing that is alive on this earth has a purpose to be here, man is a late comer and very very slow learner who really does not take too kindly to seeing his own mistakes.

This is a very sad and sorry state of being and no amount of fixing problems will get any where if we continue working with a system of predators in a market place driven by an endless spiralling cyclone of credit.

Only rare individuals in the past, and today still a minority of people, have taken
seriously the knowledge of indigenous people. In so doing, some have learned to
listen to what Aboriginal people say about country. More daringly, perhaps, some
have learned to listen to what country says about itself. Dr David Bowman, a
respected scientist, speaking in a reflective mood, had this to say about science
and scientists:
"For me [science] is a rational dialogue with mystery: our lives are so cluttered
by technology that we forget how little we know of our origin and our destiny.
Similarly ecological science can be thought of as a way of ‘talking to country’.
Over the last ten years I have been privileged to interact with North Australian
landscapes … Through science I have learnt some of the landscape’s story. I
have heard a landscape crying out for management. Therefore I feel obliged to
communicate that message … The decisions we make today not only affect the
continued existence of long lineages of life forms, but in a sense those decisions
directly affect us. Why else does extinction bother us so much? 161
The late David Burrumarra believed that human and ecological rights are
most properly embedded each within the other. That is, one cannot speak in a
holistic way about human rights without speaking also of ecological rights, and
vice versa. He outlined the three main principles which he taught to young people,
and he defined them as the ‘real human rights’:
Do the ceremony properly for your homeland and for yourself.
Understand the land and everything on it so you can manage it
When you are a bungawa [leader] you will stand up and do the
business properly for your homeland and Australia.
When we learn how to make each of these human/ecological rights a genuine
possibility for every Australian, we will be well on the road to caring for country.

Nourishing Terrains - Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness

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