Patches of sunshine, warm nooks around the garden, and the bush tomatoes are feeding a community of ants before I get a chance to pick them. Their sticky insides ooze onto my fingers when I gather a few of them each day to gradually build up my stocks of them to dry and grind. Along with the kangaroo apple that is also fruiting in the garden at the moment and I am beginning to acquaint myself with pig face and I have found a recipe for a warrigal greens pesto, and so my indigenous species gardening is starting to take shape. I still bought a fig tree today though as I have decided I am living in these two ways times and am akwardly connecting with roots in my story and in the land I am living on.
I live on Kaurna land, land that has never been ceded and we are in the windy season of Parnati. I live near Wangkondananko , the Aldinga Washpool also once known as Opossum Place where Kaurna would come and tan the hides of possums to make cloaks. This week Onkaparinga council established and Aboriginal Advisory group and this step forward I hope will help connect us all to the future from the past. This place is a food bowl and there is considerable evidence of settlement long before colonisation that even someone like me with little knowledge and experience can see. The names that have stayed and been incorporated into everyday use are the easiest pointers. The Aldinga plain, as it would have been known originally as Kauwi Ngaltingga, means fresh water at Ngalti, and you can clearly see it as a plain, a natural flood plain between the bush and the sea and a haven for bird life. Birds are returning, as are other creatures as habitat starts to regrow. There is desecration visible too, as I discovered recently, an important site in the Tjilbruke Dreamtime story, a spring site, at the southern, coastal end was badly damaged by dumping of soil and debris some decades ago. I pay my respect and deep gratitude to Aunty Georgina Williams and recognise her leadership over decades and generations.
It is hard to fathom how we got here – and I have so much to tune into, learn, understand. I am starting from a very low base. Knowing you are living on stolen land, land where there has never been an agreement, an understanding, a treaty, is in itself, a settler privilege. I haven’t the lived experience of theft or destruction of place and story, people, food, language – culture.
This week contained Earth Day and the theme was restoration. In Australia I can’t see restoration without reconciliation, restitution and some reckoning with First Nations. We all have one Mother and without the Earth we have nothing, without her waters we will die. First Nations wisdom might be all that can save us. I am making a humble start to come as a child to the exercise – wide eyed and curious, as kind a heart as I can muster and with a heart open to healing.
One Mob, One Land, One People
She is Mother Earth. She is the land of Oz
She is country, she is family. She is you
She nurtures and loves, she’s there when your tears fall
She laughs with you when you’re happy and the stars shine bright
She is your spirit of place, your mother, your land
She walks with you and your shadow guiding the way
Her love for you is the glue that holds you together
Your connection to country is your spirit of place.
Seek her on that road you travel a mother’s love has no boundaries
Unselfish in her giving her devotion is never ending
She is you and you are her no matter what road you travel
Hold your head high for you are who you are. Proud strong
Our communities are made up different from a long time ago
It’s important to remember we are one people, one Nation
Share the journey, share the joy. Be proud in the culture
Be upright and true, your identity strong never ending.
Hate and jealously. Not ours, never ours. A White man thing!
Join together be strong, stand proud. United we stand, divided we fall.
I am you and you are me. Our spirit of place, always deep within
Your life destined from time beginning, sharing the country, honouring the Lore
Now our roles defined to how we want them to be but culture is strong
Sharing and caring our identity as a people, share what you have is the Lore of the land
Each role we fulfil is for the good of the Mob learn what you will and pass on to the next
Don’t forget where you come from and the essence of life.
Be true to who you are, don’t forget who you are. Your belonging is the heart of you Aboriginal warrior man or woman be true to Mother Earth care for each other
After all we are one land one people one culture