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Country and Healing - (Reading Group #1)

In Djeran/Makuru we launched the reading group series. We started with the theme of 'Country and Healing' because we recognise that here in Australia, climate justice must be grounded in and respectful of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, wisdom and caring for Country - after all they've been doing it for over 65 000 years.

Feast: Bindi, by Kirli Saunders

Taster: Country and Culture, by Anthropocene Transition Network : Anthropocene Transition network (video)

Ambience: How to Make A Basket, by Jazz Money, from the collection How To Make A Basket


We were led by an idea by Jazz Money, identifying ways in which we felt cared for by country.

During our discussion we talked about the importance of local Indigenous knowledges and stories. We yarned about Moondang-ak Kaaradjiny: The Carers of Everything dreaming (a creation story) for Noongar Boodja told by Noel Nannup, and Float an audio story by Cassie Lynch about how Perth city (Boorloo) always was and is connected Country. We talked about how these reading groups should aim to be grounded in or connected to Noongar Country and knowledge in particular.

We shared thoughts about spaces that were important to us and ways we seek to support, or nurture, or develop our relationships with these spaces. One example was stopping by to visit a particular tree and piece of country on a regular commute - something that had been interrupted since working from home during the pandemic.

We considered the similarities between some of the texts - Bindi and the Jazz Money pieces were both in poetry, and wondered if there was something about the poetic form which helps express the complexities of connection to country. We also considered the practice of reading these stories on paper - which came from trees, and a circularity of the practice of regarding country and expressing art about country and giving back to country. 

We also discussed Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, by Leah Lakshmi Piepznia-Samarasin. 

Reflection questions: 

  1. Based on what you read what does it mean to belong to a place (rather than have a place belong to you)?
  2. Based on what you read what can we learn about caring for place?
  3. What does this teach you about climate justice?
      Keen to explore this theme yourself or with friends? We encourage you to buy your books from independent book stores (such as Rabble Books & Games), borrow from libraries, or share books among friends..

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      We acknowledge that we begin our work as The Climate Justice Union on the Boodja (land) of the Wadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. We honour the Wadjuk people and their kin in other Nations and Country across these lands and waters, who have always cared for this place and all who lived here.

      We acknowledge First Nations Elders past and present, and acknowledge that those of us living here, who came from across the seas, live on land that was taken, stolen. We acknowledge the responsibility that comes with this understanding and that we personally and collectively benefit from this theft.

      As such, we all have a responsibility to decolonise ourselves, our lives and work, and to heal the harm these oppressive systems have inflicted.

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