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On Country

People talk about country in the same way they would talk about a person: they speak to country, sing to country, visit country, worry about country, feel sorry for country, and long for country.

Deborah Bird Rose, Nourishing Terrains, 1996

Three ladies in red clay
Three ladies in red clay: Milminyina Dhamarrandji, Bawuli Marika and Dhumudal Dhamarrandji spread bularrarr (red clay) on themselves during an activity to map the cultural landscape of Dhambaliya (Bremer Island), Northern Territory, 2012. Bularrar has both spiritual significance and medicinal properties. Photo: Lisa Roeger.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a tradition of land and sea management practices that has continued for thousands of years.

Today, they blend this traditional knowledge with modern technologies and scientific research to develop an innovative approach to land and sea management that is receiving national and international recognition.

The ‘Caring for country’ movement, as it has become known over the past two decades, grew out of the land rights era.

As people regained control over their country through land rights and native title legislation, they turned their energies towards the restoration and revitalisation of country.

Caring for country is a spiritual as well as an environmental practice.

People enact their connection to country by living on country, knowing and caring for country, engaging in ceremonies, and recognising that ‘country needs its people’.

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