Centacare is encouraging South Australians to step outside and connect to culture in National Reconciliation Week (May 27-June 3).
With COVID-19 restricting NRW events, people are urged to explore their own backyards to unearth Australia’s story.
From street names to towns, suburbs, parks and public spaces, many of the places we live and frequent every day provide an insight into Aboriginal people and the nation’s history.
“Our relationship to the land underpins Aboriginal law and spirituality, and is fundamental to our identity,’’ says John Lochowiak, Manager of Aboriginal Services.
“But that connection we feel to country can be difficult for others to understand.
“Learning the traditional stories of the land can help the wider community to connect with our culture and accept it, even if they don’t understand it.’’
John says venturing out into your neighbourhood and beyond is a good place to start.
He points to the Adelaide Kaurna Walking Trail, which snakes its way around some of our most recognisable landmarks. Along the trail, sculptures and plaques tell the story and language of the traditional custodians of the Adelaide Plains.
For example, Victoria Square, near Centacare’s Adelaide office, once the main camp of the Tarntanya (Red Kangaroo Dreaming) people.
Or walks such as the Tjilbruke Trail, which flanks the southern coastline. A Kaurna creation ancestor, Tjilbruke helped create the Kaurna landscape while grieving for his nephew, Kulultuwi, who was killed after he broke a juinyunta (taboo) forbidding him to eat kardi (emu).
“In each place Tjilbruke cried, there are permanent water holes,’’ says John.
“A huge part of reconciliation is sharing these Aboriginal stories.
“They enable us to look at places differently. With understanding, we are able to see past the steel and concrete that’s there today and feel empathy with what it meant to lose our people and places.
“Where there’s a lack of knowledge you tend to get myths, and myths are usually negative.
“Go outside, go for a walk, look around, close your eyes and listen.’’
*This year’s NRW theme is `In This Together’ – collectively we can build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures.