This may be prove to be a wee bit controversial…but nevertheless he goes…
I personally believe that the often accepted Australian Aboriginal Mother Earth Theory, Concept and Belief is an introduced or borrowed doctrine and belief from other Peoples of the World and has no foundation or basis within our Ancient Australian Aboriginal Culture and Peoples.
What do you think?
Theory & Belief
Who among us has not heard of this following often quoted saying and belief which is usually attributed to an Aboriginal person having once said it:
“We don’t own the land, the land owns us.
The Land is my mother, my mother is the land.
Land is the starting point to where it all began.
It is like picking up a piece of dirt and saying this is where I started and this is where I will go.
The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity.
We don’t have boundaries like fences, as farmers do. We have spiritual connections.
To Indigenous people land is not just something that they can own or trade. Land has a spiritual value.”
I have a lot of issues and concerns about some of the above statements and I personally no longer believe some of them to be true beliefs and statements from both an Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Mudha (laws, customs, traditions etc) and Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Cultural Perspective, Belief and Ancient Traditions.
For the purpose of this note I will mainly address my concerns and issues about The Land is My Mother, My Mother is the Land statement from an Adnyamathanha Yura cultural perspective, and will address some of the others in later notes
If any of my Ngarrindjeri Family Members know of any such Ngarrindjeri story or belief that we Ngarrindjeri believe the land is our mother, then please enlighten me.
The simple question I got is this:
“Who said this?”
Because for the life of me I cannot find or identify who actually said these often quoted words and beliefs.
Did an Australian Aboriginal truly say these words and believe that the Earth is Our Mother or was it said or even, as per usual, misunderstood and mistranslated by whitefellas?
Do some of my fellow Australian Aboriginal people actually believe in the Mother Earth Theory and Belief or is it something that has been introduced into our Peoples Cultural Collective Consciousness by some outsiders, that is whitefellas?
I really do believe that the land is our mother belief is actually an introduced or borrowed belief and concept from outside of Australia because many other People in the World had/have this belief in their cultures, but I personally believe we Australian Aboriginal Peoples had no such belief or concept that the land is our mother.
But I am to first to say, that I will freely stand up to be publicly rebuked and corrected if some of my Fellow Australian Aboriginals do actually believe in this belief and concept that the land is indeed their mother
If some of our fellow Australian Aboriginals do indeed have this Ancient Belief within their Culture can you then help me by identifying which Aboriginal Language Group they are?
Do any of you know? If so, then please enlighten me by letting me know or sending such information and answers to me?
The reasons why I must question and even debunk the ‘Land is Our Mother’ Theory and Belief are as follows:
Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Mudha Aboriginal Cultural Perspective, Belief and Ancient Traditions
No where in our Ancient Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Mudha can I find any proof or foundation for the theory and belief that the Land is Our Mother.
We have no such word, cultural concept or belief that the land is our mother in our Yura Ngawarla Language.
The Yura Ngawarla Word we have for Mother is Ngami meaning ‘Mother’s Breast’.
The Yura Ngawarla Word we have for Earth is Yurra meaning ‘dirt, earth’.
I have recently noted in a newer 2000 Adnyamathanha Yura Ngawarla Dictionary that the Ancient word Yarta is now being translated as the only word meaning ‘dirt, Earth’ and that the much more ancient word of Yurra is no longer even listed or mentioned now.
The Ancient Yura Ngawarla word Yurra is listed and mentioned in the Yura Ngawarla Dictionary that was done by John McIntee and Aunty Pearl McKenzie (nee Wilton) in 1992, which they had started compiling at least twenty years earlier in the 1970’s, a time when many of our Elder Lawmen and Women were still living then, and some who even helped and advised them.
Yarta is translated as meaning ‘country, place, ground, land, dirt’ and now also being translated as ‘earth’.
I have also noted that the word Yura is still being translated as meaning Aboriginal Man/people whereas, and I suppose this may well now be just my own individual personal translation and belief, I often translate the word Yura as meaning ‘of the earth, People’.
There is also a Yura Ngawarla word Yarta Naku- which means ‘to be born’.
The reason why I translate Yura as meaning ‘of the Earth’ and not man is that Yura Ngawarla word for man is ‘Miru’, but this Ancient word for man is hardly ever used now days, and in it’s place the word Yura has now become the more common place and accepted Yura Ngawarla word that now means Aboriginal Man/people.
But I am becoming sidetracked again…so back to the topic and issue at hand, but in a way still relevant to what I have said about the word Yurra and Yura….
Now if we Adnyamathanha Yura believed that the land is our mother then you would think we would have at least a word in our Yura Ngawarla language for it, dont you?
Well truth be told we have no such word, concept or belief in our Adnyamathanha Yura Mudha nor do we have any such story or belief in our Ancient Nguthuna (the Creation Period Time of our ancestral Spirit Beings, Whitefella English words I hate: dreaming, dreamtime)
Hmmm…do not want to become sidetracked again but this is interesting to note and very relevent to our future Adnyamathanha Yura Culture and Descendents.
I have noted that the in the 2000 Adnyamathanha Yurra Dictionary that this Yura Ngawarla word Nguthuna is now also being defined as meaning ‘God’, thus the introduced religion of Christianity is also beginning to affect even how we translate some of our Ancient words now days.
Language (and Culture) is a funny thing because it is actually a living breathing entity for we people speak it – words are added, words are discarded, outside influences creep in or translated in a different ways and meanings than previous earlier translations
Back to the issue at hand….
We have no such word or concept that the land is our mother in our Ancient Yura Nguthuna stories, teachings or traditions.
In the past six years in researching our Adnyamathanha Yura stories, culture and beliefs at no time have I heard or comes across any such Nguthuna story or belief that either clearly states or alludes to that the land is our mother.
If any of my Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura Ngankini know of one then please let me know?
Now I want to address this statement: Land is the starting point to where it all began
Do we Adnyamathanha Yura believe that the land is the starting point to where it all began?
No we do not believe in this, well at least I don’t. Why not?
Adnyamathanha Ararru Mathari Yura believe that the starting point and end point of our life is as follows:
We Adnyamathanha Yura believe our Life Cycle is Spiritual – Physical – Spiritual.
We Adnyamathanha Yura peoples of the Northern Flinders Ranges have a very strong connection to the heavenly bodies above us as our life cycle is Spiritual – Physical – Spiritual…and out the end of our life we return to our heavenly abode which we call Wikurtanha.
Wikurtanha (Adnyamathanha Yura ancient concept of Heaven) and Muri – our first Spiritual Existence
Our Spiritual existence begins in Wikurtanha, our ancient concept of heaven, where we are created by our two spiritual Ngami (Mothers) known as the Maudlangami. The two Maudlangami are the source of all life and like us they are Ararru and Mathari and they each produce us as spirit children of their own moeity and kinship totems, and in this spiritual existence we are called Muri.
As Muri we are then told by our Maudlangami to come down to the world beneath to find a suitable Ngami (Mother) to be physically born to. As Muri we are always on the look-out for pleasent faced and kindly Ngami and whilst we are looking for such Ngami we spend our days seeking food from the gum blossoms andat night we fall asleep under the loose bark of tree trunks, and this goes on until we find a suitable Ngami…then we are born physically into the World.
Yarta (land, world) – Our Physical Existence
When we are physically born into the world we then become known as Yura which means ‘of the Earth’ as the word Yura is derived from the word ‘yurra’ which means ‘dirt,earth’.
As we are born physically into the Yarta (Land, world) we are given birth order names to signify our order of birth and we are also given a totem name as well as another additional name that today is often called a nick name, in order to differentiate us from others who may also bear the same birth order names as ourselves.
Our ‘nick names’ may be based on our appearence or a personal characteristic we may show or have, or something we have done or which has happened to us.
Wannapi – our return to our Spiritual Existence
When we die our physical body is placed within a Warlikari (grave) and three days later our Wannapi (Spirit) rises up from the Warlikari and we return to our Spiritual existence and travel back to reside once again in Wikurtanha from whence we first came.
The colour of our Wannapi is white.
Our Wannapi Spiritual journey back to Wikurtanha is via the Vukarnawi (water of the dead) which is the side long view of Wali Vari (lit ‘wriggling creek’; the Milky Way Galaxy) and which flows into Wildu Manta-awi (Wedge-tail Eagle Feet/Claw, Southern Cross).
It is here in Vukarnawi that our Wannapi is captured by the Wildu Mant-awi and our Wannapi is then dipped and cleansed by it in the awi (water) of Vurkanawi in order to wash away any pollution we may have picked up and brought with us from the Yarta (Land. World). Once cleased the Wildu Manta-awi then drags us through to Wikurtanha where we join up with all our Wardumathanha Ngakini (Ancestral Family).
Unlike the heaven of Christianity our Wannapi can travel to and from Wikurtanha so that we may check up on our peoples and descendants every now and then.
Now no where in this life cycle were we ever told that the land is our mother or that the land is the starting point to where it all began.
Well I stop here as a lot of information, as per usual, for you to read and contemplate on, but in closing I again make the statement:
I personally believe that the often accepted Australian Aboriginal Mother Earth Theory, Concept and Belief is an introduced or borrowed doctrine and belief from other Peoples of the World and has no foundation or basis within our Ancient australian Aboriginal Culture and Peoples.
What do you think?