By Cherie Rowett
As a business that builds community and culture, members of the NOW Empowerment Collective have had the pleasure to attend some of the sessions in the ConsciousAdelaide program today. The program is part of the global Conscious Cities Festival – that invites more consideration of how we want to design our “person-space continuum”. How important it is to recognise our cities are living cultural entities of our making – beyond just the physical footprint and built structures.
The first session of the day today was titled “Welcome to Country & DeepTime”. Aboriginal elder Jack Buckskin recommended a new word for relationship with the land, wherein a non-traditional custodian of these lands can call themselves a guestodian – with a shared responsibility for looking after the lands we live on alongside the traditional custodians.
As an Aboriginal elder, the enormity of Jack Buckskin’s contribution at this time in history is significant for he is leading the revival of the Kaurna language which was forbidden for 120 years in South Australia. Apparently it is only the third suppressed/lost language in the world’s history to be brought back to life in communities as Jack is doing. It was wonderful to hear it spoken by Jack today.
Jack’s stories today demonstrated how much profound environmental understanding has been passed along to the next generation in Aboriginal communities from ancient times, via story. And how the repertoire of stories taught not only knowledge about physical resources and moral code in community, but also about the expansive space-time potential in humans.
I was reminded by Jack’s approach to teaching us today that ‘stories’ are hard to forget especially if they are repeatedly voiced and heard, and that thinking in story and oral storytelling are profoundly developed talents in Aboriginal community.
As I left MOD and walked along North Terrace I found myself full of admiration and curiosity, and happy to have a new lexicon around ‘guestodianship’ and ‘custodianship’ of the Adelaide lands. I was also feeling reflective about the living culture we are all contributing to right here, right now, in Adelaide.