plants db - indigenous

Bill Kearney waamkearney at
Mon Dec 31 03:18:18 EST 2001

Very interesting
when I was working with Aborigional australians I was fortunate enough to
meet an elderly gentleman who possibly was one of the most together people I
have ever met.  He unfortunatly is no longer of this world and I feel we are
a lesser place for his passing.
In later years he was most critical of the Aborigional movement.  One of his
observations was that throwing money at alcohol abuse and high domestic
violence offense rates was not addressing the problem.  His view was that as
a child these problems did not exist  as tribal discipline was strong enough
to be a deterent.  What white involvement did was allowed for the breakdown
of traditional law without introducing a stringent enough penalty to allow
for the maintenance of the tribal group.  In other words "White fella stuck
his nose in and buggered it all up"

He was a strong advocate of looking to the future and information sharing
wherever possible and felt that we could never be an intergrated society
until mutual respect was attained.
I think the woman's fears are quite justafied when one looks ath the history
of colonisation but one must question "Is she doing her own tribal group a
service or diservice by her stance"  . ie will current medical technology
allow for the development of drugs that may cure the illness of the
centuary???? whatever that meay be
Another question is I suppose "what constitutes the tribal group???? In
this day of multi culturalism are we all not the "Australian Tribe" ?

These are just thoughts to stimulate discussion.

----- Original Message -----
From: Felicity Wright <flickwright at>
To: permaculture <permaculture at>
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2001 9:42 PM
Subject: Re: plants db - indigenous

> I just have to say something on this subject. I also found that first
> statement introducing Russ' comments about the accessability of
> knowledge and the rights of Indigenous people really confronting. I
> agree with many of the points made later in his original email but find
> it so difficult dealing with analogies people draw between Aboriginal
> peoples' behaviour/attitudes and whitefella behaviour/attitudes when
> there is a whitefella perception of reverse discrimination.
> I'm sorry I don't have the time and energy to write a long piece about
> this issue (there's permaculture property outside my door demanding most
> of my time and energy at the moment) but I URGE (BESEECH) any of you
> interested in Postcolonialism and its impact on Indigenous people to
> read the book 'Why Warriors Lie Down and Die' by Richard Trudgen
> published in 1998 or thereabouts. It's published by the Aboriginal
> Resources and Development Services (ARDS) that operates in Darwin. They
> have a website and I ordered the book from there.
> Richard writes specifically about his experiences and work over more
> than 20 years in Central and North East Arnhem Land in Australia as a
> community development worker (originally went to the bush as a fitter
> and turner) and he has dedicated years to learning local languages and
> understanding how it is to walk in the shoes (I suppose footsteps when
> you are barefoot!) of yolngu (Indigenous people). He now runs
> cross-cultural awareness workshops in Darwin, Nhulunbuy and beyond that
> are highly effective in challenging and educating. After hearing of his
> work for years by chance I ended up working on a five month consultancy
> in Ramingining that finished a couple of weeks ago that is the community
> where he worked for many years.
> I have been working with Aboriginal people in remote communities,
> specifically artists and their locally owned and managed cooperatives
> known as 'art centres' since 1986, and have published on the subject.
> Reading Richard's book this year was an incredible experience (not said
> lightly) and helped explain so many of the issues, challenges and
> problems I had been dealing with internally and in my relationsips with
> others (black and white, personal and professional) in my years of
> working with Indigenous Australians. His book explains/illustrates the
> overwhelming power of the dominant paradigm (that dominates all the
> thinking of non-Indigenous Australians of caucasian/Euro background) and
> its effect on yolngu spiritually and psychologically - at the same time
> as challenging all of us who go to the bush to consider how we carry our
> culture's baggage and then (usually unconsiously) impose it on other
> people and take all our understandings of their actions/behaviour
> through eyes colored by our cultural viewpoint. It has relevance to all
> colonised people and discusses the myriad expressions of alienation,
> dispossession and resignation, what causes them and proposes solutions.
> So, if you're up for a challenge and re-thinking your relationships with
> colonised people and pondering the answers to the questions people
> always ask me like 'Why do Aboriginal people do X (some inexplicable
> behaviour from our cultural reference point)?' or 'What's the answer to
> Aboriginal health problem?'........
> cheers
> flick (Felicity) wright
> 1earth permaculture wrote:
> >
> > >>It seems, on information supplied, that this woman was generalising
> > about 'white folk' the same way many Australians of European origin
> > generalise about Aboriginies.
> >
> > This poor, and great, woman has seen the genocide of the Tasmanian
> > Aborigine and has experienced first hand murder, rape, torture, slave
> > labour, the introduction of smallpox and alcohol, and the kidnapping
> > of her babies, and experiences her daily doses of racial
> > villification.  Despite this, she is good natured and cares more about
> > the earth and it's people than many who adopt an ethic to do so.
> > Despite lengthy scientific and cultural arguments as to why she should
> > share her knowledge of the plants, I respect her wishes to be careful
> > as to whom this knowledge is passed to.
> >
> > Marcus
> >
> > __________________________________________________________________
> > Get your free Australian email account at
> >
> > ---
> > You are currently subscribed to permaculture as:
flickwright at
> > To unsubscribe send a blank email to
leave-permaculture at
> > Get the list FAQ at:
> ---
> You are currently subscribed to permaculture as:
waamkearney at
> To unsubscribe send a blank email to
leave-permaculture at
> Get the list FAQ at:

More information about the permaculture mailing list