The Meaning of On Country
Victor Steffensen speaks of the feeling and intrinsic knowledge that being On Country evokes.
Why country is so important, it has its own identity, the identity of the landscape and the diversity of the landscape is exactly what makes up the identity of people.
To belong to country is such a wonderful feeling. To be connected to someone who belongs to country is a wonderful feeling. The trees are the key to understanding how to burn properly, and knowing when to burn, and what to burn, what time of time year. To be aware of country and aware how important landscapes are is a wonderful feeling. No matter who you are there's always a way to appreciate, always a way to contribute to looking after country, to being involved in the solutions.
When we look at the knowledge it comes from the landscape. The practices are engaging the land and giving back to the land and and then receiving from the land. When you burn the canopies and you're burning leaf litter and you're burning rubbish, you get black smoke and that smoke is very toxic and it's not good for the native bees and all the animals. So when we burn we're only burning the grasses. Fire moves quickly over the grasses to make sure that the heat is not there, and also because we've got the moisture the fire it's protecting the seed bank with all the moisture in the soil, so we're protecting all the foods and medicines. When we burn the grass you'll see that it's got a white smoke and that white smoke is cleaner and that actually feeds the trees and that smoke now is hitting them trees, look at them trees, see how they bathe in that now they're happy. And when we look at Aboriginal people, like going back thousands of years, what that's demonstrated to humanity is that they've worked out the the groove of living in line with natural law. So now that the smoke is going it's letting everything know, so now all the animals start to crawl away all the insects start to go up the trees and they got 360 degrees to get away. What happens now they get the flowers then the honey then the insects come for the honey, then the the right temperatures on the ground and then the grasses grow and then we get good grass come back and food and we've got berries and grass feed for birds that eat that and insects and then the whole cycle, it all comes from a relationship between the grass and the trees. So not only when we are healing landscapes, looking after country and getting the identity of the country back, you're also getting the identity of people and evolving culture once more alongside mother nature and in tune with natural law, and you know that's so important for Aboriginal people but it's also really important for all people because everyone is a part of this landscape now.