2020 Semester 2

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6 replies
  1. Kellie-D
    Kellie-D says:

    Please see forum post in skin and kin section.

    These video’s, the reading and my time in Gunbalanya and many other remote communities reiterate the importance and reliance upon country to Bininj. Often Bininj associate deaths or sickness to the wrong skin people entering sacred sites. Protection of these sacred sights is imperative. It is often stated by patients that they need to spend time on country to ensure they have the time, space and clarity to make important decisions. I love when Bininj from Gunbalanya tell me about the seasons and what happens in all of those seasons. For instance, fire season is followed by turtle hunting season. It was so interesting to see how this all played out, and the practicality behind it. Being from Victoria, it is also fascinating to see how incredible they are at knowing when to burn off to reduce the chance of big bushfires.

    What did you learn about Bininj relationship to country from the videos and reading?
    Do you have any stories about the relationships Aboriginal people have to country?
    If you’re from outside Australia, do people have similar connections to country?

      • Andrea-P
        Andrea-P says:

        The videos and readings reminded me of the very deep connection to country that effects health. I see immense pride in country, the food and totems. At certain times when bininj people would normally travel to different countries for ceremonies but have car trouble, this can really effect the well being of the family.

        I have been taken to lots of country and been welcomed and it is a very special experience on both sides. It is special to me to be involved in these ceremonies and there is such pride in the bininj who welcome me, usually by pouring water over my head. They love to share story. I have plans to head to one of the outstations for this purpose this year but due to COVID I have been unable to go. I hope to go next dry season when the TOs will take me on country to share the story. This seems to be a very important part of culture. Recently there was a lot of unrest in Gunbalanya and my bininj sisters were very upset because the ancestors of the TOs had shared the story to their ancestors and my sisters felt confused about why it was unsafe to remain in community eventhough the stories had been shared. This made me feel quite sad.

        This is very different to my life at home. I have special places that I connect with, mostly in Kurnai/Gurnai country but have no historical connection but love to share these places with people. I feel connected but have no sense of ownership.

        My Cambodian family have a similar connection to their country in the North East of the country. They live by the Mekong river and gather food from the floodplains. When they are away for some time they pine for their own country. Conversely, I have been away from my children for six months but just miss the children, not the house or land. I would be quite happy for them to come to me and don’t feel that deep connection to the land where my home is. Actually, I am quite happy being just about anywhere so long as I have my special people around me.

  2. Zenobia-J
    Zenobia-J says:

    Before I started to work with Bininj, I always heard people referring to Aboriginal people and their strong connection to Country. That meant nothing to me as an outsider. But, once I visited and experience Bininj way of living it became crystal clear and that connection is strong, stronger than I could ever imagine possible. I felt home at once having grown up in the African bush where we also learnt to take care of each other and of the environment. It really resonated with me. My favourite Bininj kunwok word is karribolknahnan – it encompasses so much and to me really captures being Bininj. The videos show really good examples of what it is all about, but experiencing it in person is great. I struggled to get my head around the different roles of Traditional Owners and Djunkay – the reading by Murray Garde clearly articulated those concepts and I feel I have a much better understanding now. I also now understand why it has been so important on my visits to Country for specific people to be present at particular places.

    I don’t really have any stories that I feel comfortable sharing, but I realise again and again how privileged we are to be welcomed by Bininj on Country and to observe their connection to Country and their practicing of karribolknahnan. The passion with which they care for Country, looking after animals and plants, management of the landscape through cultural burning and the protection of rock art is truly inspiring. It has really deeply influenced the way I now think about what matters.

    The only other group of people that I have observed with a similar connectedness to Country is the San of the Kalahari in southern Africa. Perhaps this connectedness to Country is the recipe to being the longest continuous cultures in the world. There is the pride to look after and to protect, but importantly to also share. None of those concepts are what I associated with western culture. How far behind we are and how much we have to learn.

  3. Emily-B
    Emily-B says:

    Their relationship to country is extremely strong and they show their respect for country by caring for it. For example burning, checking water system and working along with rangers to care for animals and flora and fauna.
    They speak about they connection to country by linking to who they are and what their moiety is. They are responsible for certain areas depending on their clan group.
    Yes, last year I had the pressure of joining a fire camp. I saw and learnt first hand from elders who have been caring for country and teaching myself and the younger generations from stories from the old days and how they need to care for country now. It was a beautiful experience to be apart of and help them care for country. I promised these women that I would share my experience with anyone who would listen so more people understand the importance of controlled burning and caring for country.

  4. Colin Barker
    Colin Barker says:

    I thought the video of the rangers was interesting, it shows how important it is to care for the land, and it shows the special connection that the bininj have with the land. I like the drawings of the animals on the rock art, and can see how it would be important for this skill to be passed on to future generations.

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