Animation / video: Lisa Roberts 2021 Music: Eric Avery 2020
I work with Information Technology in sharing knowledge using techniques such as Aboriginal narratives. This technique links activities and indicators on the land to the position of the stars, hence the stories work also with sea travel and sea knowledge. Aboriginal people identify strongly with waterways and seas as these environments are strongly interdependent with land management. Also many community stories have a tie back to a past when the sea levels were lower and people walked on what is now the under water continental shelf.
My relation is mostly with the river systems. These are the trade routes and travel paths along the coast on NSW and are part of women’s knowledge. Women often were (and are) the ones who move in marriage and we can carry the knowledge of similar lands where we grow up into the new areas up and down the coast. Hence the rivers tie women’s knowledge together.
The river water ways are the basic food supply in areas where these exist. They are the source of all life as rains are irregular. Yet this is not being respected across Australia and our waterways are being used for water intensive agriculture, fracking and removal of harmful chemicals from mining and airport sites. The lack of appreciation of this interconnectedness is foolish in this day and age, and in a land where the underground aquafers also tie us together.
My story was given to me by Andrew Turk: My story was with respect to an education program for Martu people about a proposed uranium mine in WA. It was about surface water running between sandridges during high rain events, such as cyclones, which the company had failed to recognise in its initial mine design and information to Martu. Of course this also affects sub-surface water. The company agreed to recognise this and make very significant changes to their mine design regarding possible tailings dam overflow once a Martu woman elder (born in that area) explained the real rainwater runoff situation to me. I used detailed Australian Government topographic map data I had been involved in collecting many years before to convince the company of the problem and the need for redesign of their mine proposal. It was withdrawn.
Andrew also noted there was an underground aquifer that flowed from the proposed dam site to an area of significance to the Martu.
Cat Kutay 2021