Tag Archives: travel

Current Controversy

While searching for some current events going on in Australia with the Aborigines, I was shocked and saddened to find this article.

“A mining company has been accused of deliberately desecrating an Aboriginal sacred site in central Australia by setting off an explosion that split the rocky outcrop containing the site in half.” -reported by Natasha Robinson

So, according to http://www.TheAustralian.com, a mining company that digs for manganese was carrying out their business in an area in central Australia that holds cultural significance to the country’s native people. The official name of the site, “Two Women Sitting Down,” is said to be inspired by two spirits, Bilgara and Kaladaku. These two female spirits are believed to exist in dreams where they fight with one another. Natives also believe that the color of the rock and sand in the area of destruction is red because of the ‘bloody battles’ between Bilgara and Kaladaku.

Now, I’m not a scholar when it comes to mining practices and guidelines. But from this article I am able to gather that there are, in fact, Aboriginal liaison committees that require corporate and commercial cooperation – alliteration not intended. The mining company, OM Manganese, was “issued a clearance” to mine among the sacred sites, but only because of certain restrictions that they were supposed to operate within while working in those areas. Apparently, they acted outside of that agreement and wound up making a huge crater where a very special site now used to exist.

It seems to me that corporations and bureaucratic organizations, when given an inch, always take another mile – and then blow it up, either figuratively or, in this case, quite literally. It’s unfortunate for those who are hurt by these actions, but at the same time, it serves as constant motivation to form an opposition and work toward honorably upholding a unique and meaningful culture.


A Culture of Song and Dance

This video I found of Aboriginal dances exhibits the essence of the culture of Australia’s native people. I was intrigued by this video in particular because of the caption that accompanies it.

“Australia’s Aboriginal people have no written language. The legends and the stories of their past have been kept alive in song and dance. This video contains two films that provide a beautiful and valuable record of Australian Aboriginal dance.” – written by the folks at Youtube’s iDIDJ Australia Didgeridoo Channel

No written language! In our world today, it is really difficult to try to imagine going the length of just one generation without being able to communicate through the written word, let alone centuries. Granted, as a people who are addicted to the internet, we are so linked through our written language that it would be virtually impossible to live without it. The Aborigines never had it to begin with, so their story is a little different.

Watching the dances the Aborigines use to communicate with each other is no doubt entertaining because everything about their people is very foreign to me. Their dress, their traditional face paint, etc. Watching this guy hop around like a kangaroo seems a little silly at first, but then after a few minutes worth of deeper consideration, I see him as a free, endearing person relying on his basic skills to communicate about animals, hunting, and, ultimately, his survival.

This video was filmed in Cape York which is a peninsula that juts out from the far North of Queensland, Australia. It is said to inhabit up to 5 communities of Aboriginal tribes and has some of the most untouched nature left in the world.