Wiradjuri elder Flo Grant believes in the value of history. 'Our past plays a major part in where we are today', she says. During the 19th century, Flo's people resisted British colonisation in the Wagga Wagga region and across the rest of Wiradjuri country. 'But nulla nullas and boomerangs and spears were no match to guns and horses and swords', Flo explains. 'The Murrumbidgee flowed in blood.' Flo Grant considers problems like salinity a consequence of social and ecological fragmentation brought by colonisation and agricultural development: 'You can die of a broken heart. The country can do the same thing. It can be broken.'
Flo manages Wiradjuri Yalbalingada, a living-skills and cultural learning place near Wagga Wagga, owned by the Wiradjuri Christian Development Ministries. A blend of Christian and Wiradjuri spiritual beliefs inform Flo's life and the teaching activities she undertakes at Yalbalingada. Baiaamai created the world, Flo explains, and is the same spiritual being Christians call God. Baiaamai has given her a vision to foster ties between Wiradjuri people, other Australians and wounded country. 'We've got to heal our people, and we've all got to work together to heal land and preserve our water, because we build for the next generation.'
Related Pass the Salt stories: Wiradjuri Yalbalingada