Red Mountains or Sacred Rock and Indigenous Progressive Knowledge

redMountains (2)’s booked!

I am going to see the sunset at Uluru! (also known as Ayers Rock) (you know, I talk about it in this article). My departure is right after my exam.

Needless to say that I am very excited, especially since now that I have learned a little bit more about the beautiful aboriginal culture and also the indigenous protected areas (IPA) notion. IPA are like areas (it could be land or sea), where traditional owners (that is, Indigenous people) have entered into an agreement with the Australia government to promote biodiversity and cultural resource conservation. While some of those areas such as Dhimurru are successful in their endeavour, there are still many administrative and communication issues in those areas. Indeed, how do you find an agreement when the two parts involved have a completely different way of looking, representing, thinking about the world? The two parts that I am talking about are of course the Australian government and the traditional owners.

The thing is that we, when I say ‘we’ I mean, the West, tend to think that our knowledge is universally true, that we are the most advanced in terms of sciences and technologies and that other nations that do not  join our camp are ‘primitives’ (Modernisation theory baby).

We have huge troubles to recognize other kind of knowledge as also valid and true. In our view, our medicine is the best, our way of mapping the world is the best, our political system is the best, our economic system is the best and in this case our resource management system is the best.. Well, I think that you get my point.

But then, my geography teacher (décidément!) has challenged these assumptions and she has introduced us to a post-colonial geographer, Deborah Bird Rose, that has been interested  on how aboriginal view lands and landscapes. She looked at their relationship with their environment and especially the way they take care of it. So indeed, the difference with us is like night and day. To a better understanding of what I am trying to convey,  I encourage you to read this quote below that explain a bit aboriginal view on the land (allez Sofia, elle est petite celle-là, you can do it :D). And then, you will understand how indigenous view differs from our own view of the world:

“People talk about country in the same way that they would talk about a person: they speak to country, sing to country, visit country, worry about country, feel sorry for country, and long for country. People say that country knows, hears, smells, take notice, takes care, is sorry or happy. Country is not a generalised or undifferentiated type of place, such as one might indicate with terms like “spending a day in the country” or “going up the country”. Rather, country is a living entity with a yesterday, today and tomorrow, with a consciousness, and a will toward life.” (Rose 1996:7).
I have been really moved when she said that “they can be sorry for a country”, and that the country can be sorry as well.. I imagine that this must happen when the land has been damaged or so. When I think about it, thinking about the land as something alive makes sense, it is both poetic and clever actually.
After reading stuff like that I always wonder who are the most developed human group on the earth: the one that feel sorry for a land? or the one that view the natural landscape as something that exists only out there to serve our needs?
In this perspective, are we truly the most ‘developed’ civilisation?
I don’t think sooo ♪♫” (as Cher would say, in Clueless :D)
Anyway, I hope that I will learn more from these cultures (there is not only one aboriginal culture) during this trip. I genuinely want to connect to a intellectual but also deeper level.
In the meantime, 9 days to go before the end so I should better go.
Love ♥
PS: I messed up my scan of the red mountains so one quarter of the drawing is lost in space (including my signature). When I realized that, I had already sent this drawing to my Grand-Mother.. Oh well, a little bit of anonymity does not hurt anyone.