Uncle Denis describes the significance of the land for Aboriginal people – and of its loss.
Yeah the land is very important in that, not like British thinking where you can own land, and Australian thinking too now I guess, but in Aboriginal culture and lore, you belonged to the land, you didn’t own it, you belonged to the land. So that’s a lot different. So if you belong to something, then you cherish it more, it’s more important to you. That’s where your life comes from, that’s where your living comes from.
To lose the land or to not be associated with the land or belong to the land anymore, you’re moved off to some other place, was a tragedy, you know, it was like losing your family, your dignity, your identity. And the British didn’t realise just how much that did to Aboriginal people. They lost their dignity, they lost their purpose for life, they lost – yeah, lost their culture, their way of life.
And it’s taken all this time for Aboriginal people to recover, and I don’t think we’ve recovered yet. It was an enormous event in Aboriginal history and it’s only happened in the last 230-odd years compared to thousands of years that went before that, where lore was established, L-O-R-E, across the country and everything ran perfect. And country now or the land now, to me even, is so precious and I feel there is a sort of a spiritual connection, for want of a better word, because when I come back to this area where my ancestors were for thousands of years I feel at peace, I feel as if I belong.