• Produced by US entrepreneur, an Aboriginal man talks about the concept of money in his culture (Image: Facebook) (Facebook)Source: Facebook
"In the old days, it was a given thing that we would share things"
By
Sophie Verass

15 Sep 2016 - 1:48 PM  UPDATED 7 Jun 2017 - 10:52 AM

Almost half of all Indigenous Australians are severely financially excluded. Many are without access to financial products and services and in many cases, don't even have a savings account or debit card.

A many of these people have no opportunity to learn to manage money and entire communities can become financially vulnerable, leading to widespread debt, scams and 'living below the line'.  

Factors include living in remote locations, English being a second language and struggling to obtain employment as a result of being a part of a historically and contemporary oppressed group of people.

However, the basic concept of money can be a challenge in itself for many Aboriginal people, particular those from cultures where sharing is a part of your predisposed responsibilities. 

Growing your bank account is important in Australia. It costs the average Australian $223 on housing, $193 on transport and $104 on food and drink per week. However, this is a framework that doesn't hold for a group of people whose principles go against such a monopolistic structure.

But more to the point, should this framework - to nest on a pile of cash - be the ideal?

A clip from the film HUMAN (2015), a sensitive portrait of human kind by filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bartrand, has resurfaced online and been circulating mainly US audiences (of all places). It features Stephen Goldsmith, a Kaurna, Narungga, Ngarindjerri man from South Australia and a cultural educator, actor and performer, who talks about how generosity prevails in his community, so much so that the pleasantries of "please" and "thank you" needn't exist.

He raises concerns that the importance placed on money has not only seen people without financial security; having "no money", but that it has created a world of selfishness and greed. He sends a message from Aboriginal Australia to the world to think more about sharing with others and being generous, rather than focusing on ownership. 

NITV's Luke Briscoe, a Kuku Yalanji man agrees, and says that it's difficult for a group of people to simply change the values which have been passed on from thousands of years.

Ngujakura lore, for example, connected five Yalanji clan groups over Far North Queensland and created effective ways of communication, share and trade. However, when white man law was imposed, the established system of Ngujakura wasn't allowed to be practiced and the new racist laws wouldn't give Indigenous people the opportunity to participate in Australian society, let alone have a bank account. Developing their trade system was prohibited and learning to manage newly introduced money wasn't an option. 

"You can’t just simply change a value system which have been passed on from 80,000 years or more."

"We have survived the cataclysmic forces of nature and even colonisation," he says. "We have established intricate trade routes that links us to how we communicate and share as a collective, rather individualist. You can’t just simply change a value system which have been passed on from 80,000 years or more."

US Entrepreneur and co-found of social networking site, Ideaspod, Justin Brown resurrected the link two weeks ago and posted it on his Facebook page. Since, the clip has been shared by nearly 1,000 other American users and even reached people as far as Spain, Italy and Serbia. Many are commending the Indigenous Australian ideology and asking questions about Aboriginal culture. 

 

(Translated as: "Fantastic philosophy. It reminds me of the time when we organised the party in Candelo and split the cash! I do not know why. It came to mind (It was many years ago)").

The whole film, HUMAN, can be watched here


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