Homelands – Time waits for no one
The wisdom of Aboriginal culture and its understanding of the human need for ancestral roots is well depicted in the ‘homelands movement’, which dates back to the 1970s and was created by Aboriginal people going back onto country. Homelands (people’s native land or a region/territory closely identified with a particular ethnic group) – makes Aboriginal people healthier and stronger. It enables them to maintain customary ways of living that can only continue on country. The vastness of Australia is home to many different tribal groups – just as we experience in Europe. We understand the uniqueness of each people group in Europe with their cultural differences – while at the same time seeing all Aborigines as one, denying what we accept easily in Europe. Being in their homeland allows them to protect sacred sites and gives them a sense of ‘home’ and belonging while contributing to their cultural responsibilities of caring for their country, managing the natural resources of their land and seas. It contributes to their thriving art practice and industry which provides an economic base when none other exists.
Australia is a country of immigrants, a conglomerate of different ethnic groups. People choose to live here for various reasons. That they have been displaced from their homeland is indisputable, their ability to accept the new ways is dependent on them individually. They make Australia their home (a place where one lives permanently, an environment offering security and happiness) – often incorporating the traditions from their old homeland into the new country. Meeting and mixing with people from the same country, same ethnic background or the same part of the world – to re-create an understanding, a way to communicate, that is so natural to them – coming from the same traditions, the same history, the same experiences. It relaxes them, gives time to grow, create and excel – which results in making them healthier, stronger.
Aristophanes said ‘A man’s homeland is wherever he prospers’. We can choose where we want to prosper. Only time will tell whether we made the right decisions. However – ‘time waits for no one’ – Procrastination is the waster of time, eating up the years. Homelands needs to happen now. For the Indigenous people of Australia prospering is possible when they can re-connect, or re-turn to their homelands, their country, where they have this strong sense of belonging that builds the base for their Dreaming, their time to create – their ability to communicate. The opportunity to overcome the difficulties that come across their path, the adversities they face every day. Then they live in time rather than through it.
The goal is to come to an understanding – that there is a way of living that leads to Victory – as individuals and as a country.
‘The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude’. (William James, American Philosopher and Psychologist)