• Sugar Loaf rock under moon light in Margaret River, Western Australia (Moment RF)
How do you explain 'connection to country'? Travis Cardona speaks from the heart and the Earth.
By
Travis Cardona

9 Aug 2017 - 9:00 AM  UPDATED 16 Jan 2020 - 3:07 PM

What is my connection to country? I wish I could reply back in my language, speaking my ancient voice of the land and then explain how this concept has been passed down for generations, since the dawn of civilisation. To then be able to sing a song in my language that encapsulates my existence and purpose and connection to the birds, plants, animals, lands and waters. But I can’t.

I know biggest mob people who can do that and sadly I know biggest mob people, just like me, who never got the honour of learning their culture and language on country.

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For a long time Tyson Mowarin had wanted to make a film that was able to demonstrate what connection to country really meant to Aboriginal people. Tired of seeing sacred sites decimated and deregistered by the Western Australian government, just over a year ago he decided to pick up the camera to try and show what many seemingly misunderstand.

So if I can’t explain my connection to country in my traditional language - how am I supposed to come to terms with it, only knowing English?

Despite this believe I still have and maintain a strong connection to country.

For me, connection to country is the same feeling you get when you see a shooting star or look into the eyes of a bird. It’s that moment that happens between sleeping and waking up, it’s the rhythm of your walk to sound of the trees in the wind or breathing in sync with the waves crashing on the shore.

For me, connection to country is the same feeling you get when you see a shooting star or look into the eyes of a bird. It’s that moment that happens between sleeping and waking up, it’s the rhythm of your walk to sound of the trees in the wind or breathing in sync with the waves crashing on the shore.

It’s walking on country and having that feeling that you’re standing on and amongst life and getting a sense that all around you is precious. Being able to stand in our vibrant natural environment and know your place. Where you belong is connection to country.

Connection to country also enables you to understand the environment, how to operate it in and how it cares for the living. It's about seeing a dragonfly and knowing the dry season is coming or the deep heavy smell on the wind is bringing storms.

Having connection to country means you understand that you’re a part of something bigger. Connection is not thinking about yourself, but everything around you as whole. Connection to country is not looking at Earth like a ball in space but a home to life. It’s looking into the stars against a black sky and reading the stories of life and how we came to be and come from out there.

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Connection to country is being excepting of others, excepting of yourself and having empathy towards those who have less or have struggled.

Connection to country, is knowing Earth keeps you here with gravity and stops you falling into the endless abyss of space. Connection to country is knowing that the Sun and the Earth to work together to create life. Connection to country is documenting the stories of the people, plants, animals, waters, land and culture for thousands and thousands of years with art, song and language and passing it on to the next generation.

 


 

Watch Connection to Country, a compelling documentary that tells the story of Government and industry threatening the the sacred sites and ancient rock art of majestic Pilbra region. 

NITV presents a selection of dedicated programming, special events and news highlights with a focus on encouraging greater understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives on 26 January. Join the conversation #AlwaysWasAlwaysWillBe