The Significance of Land to the Dreaming for Aboriginal People and the Impact of the Land Rights Movement Essay
“When you sit in your own country, your spirits lift and you are again truly back to the land where things make sense and your life has meaning” – Galarruy Yunupingu - The Significance of Land to the Dreaming for Aboriginal People and the Impact of the Land Rights Movement Essay introduction. Hello and welcome to ST Leo’s justice group my name is charbel saliba and I will be talking to you about aboriginal dreaming and land rights. The quote I said earlier was a spiritual view of life based on the dreaming which cannot be separated from the land; that is why the aboriginal people’s connection towards the land is inexorable.
The two are intertwined; to separate them would be impossible, one would not work without the other thus they are just as important. The land is used as a physical link between human beings and all that is unseen and eternal. It creates a place for the aboriginal people to express themselves through ceremonies and rituals; this helps the aboriginal people connect to their spiritual core beliefs. We must remember that the dreaming is past, present and goes on onto the future, dreaming is continues and never ending.
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Dreaming stories contain vital information containing different things such as gathering food, the making of tools, where clays and ochres can be found, landscape and how it evolved, reasons for ceremonies and how ceremonies are to carried out and the reasons for laws and morals. The dreaming is a form of spirituality for aboriginal people; it tells them how to treasure the land and about its vitality. In aboriginal spirituality the physical features of our surroundings and how they came to be are explained through dreaming. Dreaming also explains how aboriginal people are to utilize their lives at present and how the world can be reserved.
A segment of the dreaming tells us that the ancestral beings are resting in the land; the hills, rocks and rivers in animals, birds and people. This adds to why the land must be respected and cherished; in turn of proving the importance of dreaming. Dispossession is the process of the removal of a person or group from land, through the process of law. This dispossession has had a continuing harmful effect through a loss of spiritualties. For the Stolen Generations, those who were removed from their Aboriginal families, the suffering has extended to the loss of personal identity.
Aboriginal spirituality lies in the belief in a cultural landscape. Everything on the vast desert landscape has meaning and purpose. The land is both an external landscape and an internal relationship with the ancestral spirits. Landmarks are both theoretical and physical. As an example Uluru can be seen as a heroic poem, a source of sacred law, a physical milestone and a source of knowledge. The impact of dispossession of Aboriginal peoples from their land resulted in a severe decline in their population.
Since they were unable to access clean water or a suitable and nutritious supply of food, this made them more vulnerable to fatal diseases. While many Aboriginal people were killed in violent clashes over the rights to settle on the land, an enormous number also died from starvation. Separation from the land meant that a part of the indigenous people has died off as the land and the people are one. The aboriginal people belonged to the dreaming, it was like a natural thing in their life and without it they wouldn’t feel right or wouldn’t feel like they have any purpose in life.
The dispossession from their land means that they wouldn’t have a normal life as they were forced to live in a different lifestyle and culture and away from their land. The consequences of Aboriginal dispossession continued for generations. A number of Aboriginal people were initially forced into government reserves and church missions. Around the middle of the 20th century, however, many reserves were closed due to overcrowding and increasing maintenance expenses. Aboriginal people were forced into cities and towns where they were had no other option but to live on the outskirts, or in public housing.
A perfect example of separation and dispossession is the stolen generation. The stolen generation is a term used to describe the indigenous children that were taken away from their families and their land by the Australian federal government. The stolen generation has grown up without any family ties or cultural identity. This may create social and financial disadvantages, feelings and insecurity, low self-esteem, depression, violence, suicide, abuse of alcohol and other drugs, crime and a general lack of trust. In each instance the individual has been separated from family, it also means a fracturing of their identity.
The Identity of Aboriginal people links family and land. The land connection is like a bond to family in a parental capacity; the land is our mother and deserves our respect. Separation from family is also separation from cultural belonging. The family is there to reiterate identity and culture. Separation from the aboriginals and the land meant that cultural practices and ceremonies linked with the dreaming and land could not be carried out. I am going to conclude my speech by saying that the aboriginal people and the land are 1 and when separated they become useless because without the other half they have no meaning in life.