Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Welcome to Country

After 36 hours of traveling (three planes and lots of layovers) we have arrived at Uluru.  The tiny Ayers Rock airport was the last vestige of air conditioning before stepping out into the 98 degree heat.  The stillness of the landscape is juxtaposed with a palpable vitality and living history, and our first stop from the airport was Anangu homelands of Uncle Bob Randall and his family. 

Driving along the red track Uncle Bob was telling us the hopes and dreams for his family's land.  "The marker starts here, and then goes for as far as your eye can see."

We then arrive at the spot where I learned how to cook a kangaroo tail three years ago, and now they've added to toilets and a little shelter for Grandmother Barbara to use when she comes out to teach.  Johnny, Uncle Bob's son, has been clearing  insidious non-native grass and the place looks amazing.  This is the spot where hopefully more groups will have the chance to experience the Anangu stories and ways of living on country.  It's not as easy out here and the politics are sometimes a confusing morass, but the family is building a place for Indigenous teaching that is truly inspiring, and Brian and I are so honoured to help!

On the way out to the homelands Barbara said, "there it is, stop!" 
and we all piled out into the crazy heat to see certain branches of 
the Mulga tree glistening with sticky droplets of sap.  The looked 
like diamonds in the sun and Uncle Bob said, "go ahead, 
break one off, this is how we used to do it."  

Outback candy store!
The Sap tastes a little like tapioca, but also rock candy.  It was a wonderful way to get reacquainted with the land out here!

This morning we woke up to birds as our alarm clock and the sun kissing the side of Uluru into a bright and deep orange/red and the deep silence of the land is incredibly grounding.  We will get to the work and the stories and the documenting soon enough, but for today, it is incredible just to Be.  


Bruno Ferreira said...

Exciting first steps. Is the work/documenting making a film?

KatieK said...

Hi Bruno~!
There are about four parts toward the goal, from my perspective:
One is a documentary, one is publishing a revised and updated edition of Uncle Bob's book SONGMAN, one is an email newsletter by Uncle Bob to go along with weekly video podcasts/YouTube channel, and of course, the biggest goal is for Uncle Bob's family to be able to teach people on their own land...self-determination, the goal of every Aboriginal Australian I think.

Hope you're having a great day, and thank you so much for being interested!