Good Reading : July 2011
45 good reading july 2011 YOUNGER READERS BOOK BITE Arthur Shadforth grew up in the Borroloola area of the Norther n Ter ritory in the 1960s. When I was a child we'd go out and play all day without taking any lunch.We always had food in the bush.We used to practise our bush skills. As a child out playing, you picked it up. We use the bush as our school and as our playground. Charlotte Phillipus grew up in Papunya (Norther n Ter ritory) in the 1950s. She has a Diploma of Education, and for many years was a teacher at Papunya School. This statement was written on behalf of the Papunya Cur riculum Project in 1999. For thousands of years Indigenous people have lived in balance with the land. They know and hear with their heart and soul. They see with their eyes and ears.They read the country with their feet. They are tuned in to the knowledge of the land. Their ancestors are their teachers.The country holds the stories in the rocks, rivers, hills and salt lakes. The Tjukurrpa is seen in the sky, stars, sun, rainbow, storms and water. For thousands of years we taught our children about this knowledge. It is passed down through families. We lear n by doing, copying, mimicking, watching, acting, taking part in ceremonies and listening to stories from country and from inside our hearts. Joe Brown is a Special Adviser for the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre in Wester n Australia. Like Charlotte Phillipus, he talks of the importance of the traditional way of learning through the stories of country. While Charlotte uses the word 'Tjukurrpa' for the Law, in Joe's language the word is 'Ngarrangkarni'. All the old people know the meaning of the story for their own country. People believe in that story and follow that story from the time we call Ngarrangkarni. Non-Aboriginal people say Dreamtime. Ngarrangkarni is just like 'In the beginning'. Just like the Gospel has the story of Adam and Eve, Aboriginal people have stories about land and animals and people from the beginning when the world was soft. These stories teach you everything. How to live in the country and how to respect each other. These stories are the Law. They tell you about important places we have to look after ... If you break the Law you will get punished. We have to teach all the story from the Ngarrangkarni to our kids.When people start to learn that story they keep Law and Culture strong and we feel wirriya (happy) ... It is our right to be able to teach our kids songs, stories and ceremonies about our country. Our Law and Culture is alive and strong. Playground: Listening to stories from country and from inside the heart compiled by Nadia Wheatley is published by Allen & Unwin, rrp $39.99.