“We have much to learn”. These are the words enthusiastically sprouted from Sydney’s Mayor Clover Moore at the Indigenous Streams Summit on Wednesday. Together at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, our mob got together to share stories of wisdom, strength and optimism in a world where our knowledge is often forgotten or devalued. Unhushed, these voices awaken to honest discussion. Lived freely through the words of our people.
Deep in lost text are the surveys and stories of memories wanting to be forgotten by others. Narratives of Indigenous stockmen paid in packets of lollies, our women taken advantage of during the nights and lived conditions we wouldn’t dream of for our pets today- these are the realities of the thriving, sheep’s back industry. All this, despite valuing the contribution made and the natural ability and flair our People show in the bush or on horseback.
Today, our People face a similar predicament. In a changing world of climate change exacerbating weather conditions, political insecurity and a guiding principle of “more from less”, our People and the knowledge they have are viewed mere pawns of a growing agricultural industry. In an attempt to create a synthetic care model for Mother Earth, our views are respected only to value that can be extracted. All of which with no just return. Perhaps this view was summed up best by Uncle Bruce Pascoe when he exclaimed:
“You can’t eat our food (or use our knowledge) if you can’t swallow our history”
Even our native seeds in Australia are incapable of being tied to our People, who instead must rely upon the way in which we farm for legal protection. I guess it comes as no surprise that the legal system who didn’t acknowledge us doesn’t want to extend to other facets for our survival. Our cultural knowledge and intellectual property somehow extends to purely the depths in which we can place it, despite the richness and depth for survival.
Aboard planes and taxis, motel rooms to highway lines, this week has challenged my mind a little more than most, expecting more and more to build solutions and challenge concepts. It’s been a week of injecting calves, mowing lawns and cattle farm dreaming, while in the depths of tech product building and solution design. Somehow all in a standard week of this Corporate Country lifestyle.
Hoo roo, and until next week’s installment.
P.S- I would love to get your ideas on the above thought process!