Welcome to Country Dr Richard Walley
Updated: Feb 24, 2019
Welcome to Country: Dr Richard Walley
Began by asking us to think about the tree welcoming us.
Richard described the Noongar system of inter-relationships between people, plants, animals and ecosystems – where you understood your connection to another person (aware of blood ties) and other elements in the ecosystem (trees, animals). The relationships criss-crossed so that in the end, every element was related to every element through a complex but fully understood system of interconnection - this was a perfect community system of reciprocity and obligations.
Indigenous people knew that things worked but Western science wants to know HOW it works. While Aboriginal people respect a frog because it works in the system of things Western science wants to kill it to see how it works, but then it is dead.
Richard suggested (in answer to a question about how Europeans can connect to this knowledge system) that European culture began the same way – all cultures did – and this is evident in family crests which often depicted signs and symbols of plants and animals. These were the things they knew to value and care for. So we aren’t as disconnected from Indigenous ways of knowing as we might think we are.
(Words by Marilyn Palmer)
Watch this video to see Richard and the audience singing in Noongar Language