Tag Archives: Indigenous

Skewed View

via Daily Prompt: Skewed

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The gorge at Tjukurla last July. A precious water hole for the community here since time began, for the white explorers like Ernest Giles an age ago, and now more a wonderful place to visit, as we all did.

When white settlers arrived on the shores of Australia, they immediately began to move into the interior, exploring for possible farm lands, minerals, and for building community. Immediate impressions were bleak, explorers often commenting on the harshness of the bush, the lack of water, the heat in summer, overall, the bush was perceived as harsh and dangerous. Some, like the Burke and Wills expedition (1860) from Melbourne to Carpentaria, saw all but one of the seven team members perish.

But if you read Australia’s expedition history you quickly discover that, though Australia’s bush is indeed a harsh environ, human error accounts for most of the deaths of exploreers. Their perception of the bush skewed the reality. The proof of this is that for milennia Australia’s indigenous people thrived in these very inerior spaces. Spaces like Tjukurla where water, wildlife and vegetation, were available, and so it was possible to live in these spaces, if you but understood the how of these spaces. Australian Aboriginal people knew how, over centuries of experience they knew what to do and how to do it. For them the land was not hostile but friend, not harsh, but purposeful. Theirs was a life living in seasonal rhythm, in harmony with the elements, with respect for all life, with intimate knowledge. They understood the feel of the land, its formation and power. They only took what was necessary for all, their ethic was shared space.

If only we’d bothered to look with their eyes and heart, if only we’d taken time to understand. A perception of harshness leads to negative response, distrust leads to disrespect, a disregard for the vast yet fragile environ. Ownership individualises every experience and leads to conquest, even of each other, and nothing is shared, only despair.

Aboriginal life is testimony to how skewed white understanding of the land and community has been.

Fortunately the tide has begun to turn and we are learning from our indigenous their ways of valuing nature and community, ways that will enable us to battle global warming, climate change and all that is ill in our land. They lived without us for milenia, they didn’t need us, but we sure do need them.

The gorge at Tjurkula is proof that the bush is tough, but yet yielding, in the midst of hard granite, sandstone, and dry earth lies precious and life-giving water. The water sustains wildlife and plants, and gives life to all.

I sometimes see that that is how we are meant to be, life giving into our world.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

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Filed under bush walking, Country, environment, history, life, mindfulness, nature

Conscious Authenticity

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

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Sunset at Uluru, one of my many favourite photos of the rock, taken last year. Uluru is a well known Aussie icon. Primarily it is an indigenous sacred site, but in a broader sense it is a well known visual associated with Australia as a country. For us Uluru is as authentic as it gets for an icon, along with the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But Uluru is a natural wonder. The icons created by human endeavour are sleek, well designed and engineered, repaired and maintained. But Uluru was forged through time, weathered, beaten by the elements, sometimes shedding its skin as layers peeled off. It is old and wise and has many stories to tell, It has scars and wounds to show beneath its grandeur and striking presence.

We are a little like that. Forged through time, we grow and develop, mature. Along the way we are a little weathered, and beaten by the elements. And there are, perhaps, times when we psychologically shed our skin. We may well feel our age, but not many of us would admit to being wise – usually that is a label applied by others who experience us, and yet, in my experience,  every person carries a wisdom of their own. And we certainly have many stories to tell, especially because we have wounds and scars that are our story.

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. 
"It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, 
long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you 
become Real.'
 
"Does it hurt?" Asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes." said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 
"When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, 
"or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. 
It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people 
who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept. 
Generally, by the time yo are Real, most of your hair has been loved 
off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very 
shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are 
real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. 

Margery Williams Bianco "The Velveteen Rabbit"

Unless we risk love, unless we risk vulnreability, we cannot become, we cannot be, And we cannot be real. The sort of risk I understand is expressed perfectly by the Skin Horse, that we loved and held to the point that we are both hurt and yet whole. But in the main it is our scars and wounds that really make us. They don’t define us, they help make us, help us to become, help us to grow and be authentic.

To be authentic isn’t to be a thing, to be some predetermined you, to be ‘someone’. Authenticity doesn’t come down from the heavens, it isn’t randomly assigned to you. To be authentic is to simply be the you you already are. But you can’t be that person unless you risk the scars and wounds of living, it is a slow thing, it takes a long time, but it is to have lived and to have been real.

As Brene Brown has said: “Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

I really like that, “Life is a collection of choices.”  and, that it is “a practice, a conscious choice.” Authenticity is something we can do.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, life, mindfulness, psychology, quote, self-development, Uluru 17

Mighty

via Daily Prompt: Mighty

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In Noongar culture Waugyl (there at least eight variant spellings of Waugyl) is the mighty creator serpent, a rainbow serpent:

Woolah!
You came, Warrgul,
With a flash of fire and a thunder roar, and
As you came, you flung the earth up to the sky,
You formed the mountain ranges and the undulating plains.
You made a home for me
On Kargattup and Karta Koomba,
You made the beeyol beeyol, the wide clear river,
As you travelled onward to the sea.
And as you went into the sunset,
Two rocks you left to mark your passing,
To tell of your returning
And our affinity (the poet, the late Dr. Jack Davis: from his play – Kullark, 1982)

For more on Noongar culture go to:   https://www.noongarculture.org.au/spirituality/

The story in the photo tells of the work of Waugyl creating the Collie and the Preston River systems. The story goes with a sculpture of Waugyl in the town of Donnybrook. It is a wonderful story of creation spirituality. In order to preserve nature, Waugyl must never be disturbed (endangered or angered) otherwise nature will deteriorate and balance will be lost. This is a story for today and our urgent need to act to protect the environment.

Paul

pvcann.com

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Filed under nature, Spirituality

Days on the Road 5

We arrived at the Warburton Roadhouse last night after a gruelling days to after a gruelling day on some of the worst gravel road I have travelled, and I’ve been on a few. It was bone jarring.

Warburton is a small mostly indigenous community, and visitors are asked not to take photos as a respect for the indigenous and their cultural practices, especially valuing and guarding images. So we took no photos.

Coming into the town you ford a creek, which was merely a trickle at this time of year and little rain. The town is really set in an oasis in that the creek gives life. The town is very small but well kept. The Roadhouse was excellent. I want to dispel an urban myth in some quarters that this is a town to avoid, but my experience is that Warburton is certainly a town to visit. We stayed in the campground behind the Roadhouse.

In the morning we visited an indigenous art exhibition at the gallery in the shire building, well worth the effort. It was a retrospective of indigenous art from the region, art that told the story of the beginnings of the region and the people in it. There was also a book on display which gave the history of white settlers coming into th e region and the work of the United Aboriginal Mission. Lyn had met several of the families associated with the UAM (Wade, Collins, Schenk). The indigenous comments on the mission were indeed generous which showed positive identification of some good outcomes of the work of UAM.

We set off on the road and continued to wrestle with corrugations and dust. The road takes its toll and we have been taking plenty of breaks for rest and recreation to compensate. We got to see camels grazing (and which are not native to Australia, and are destroying the flora which has a major impact on fauna too). Today’s breaks included:

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A breakaway called Yarla which was so peaceful, and with stunning views (above).

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And above, a gnamma hole just off the Great Central Road, one of three large gnammas together, with tadpoles and a fourth with algae. There were also plenty of Finches at the water holes.

We continued on until we came to the Warakurna Community and Roadhouse, and we’ve camped in their open campground for the night. In all a wonderful day.

pvcann.com

 

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Buried Underground

https://dailpost.wordpress.com/prompts/bury/

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One of the interesting facts about Australia’s monoliths is that they are small above ground, with the bulk buried below. This is a partial shot of Kokerbin Rock that I took 2009. The rock is between the communities of Kellerberrin and Shackleton. Kokerbin Rock is 122 mtrs high, and is a grantire formation. Originally it was an indigenous birthing site, and therefore a women only site. As you approach Kokerbin from the east it even looks like a pregnant woman lying on her back.

Kokerbin is the third largest monolith in Australia, but what you see with teh eye is small compared to what geophysics has uncovered as buried below ground. Mt. Wudddina in South Australia is second largest, and the iconic Uluru is first.

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Uluru in 2014, and again, the bulk of it is buried or underground. And this is also a significant Indigenous site, and while it is a popular tourist destination it continues to be used, whereas Kokerbin is no longer used and is now a nature park.

pvcann.com

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