“Welcome to Australia, welcome to my land”

My last post a lil bit more than a week ago mentioned how everywhere I go some officials at the events greet and welcome internationals. A beautiful and touching, makes you feel a lil bit less like a stranger. Nevertheless, last Thursday made me feel like home.

Last Thursday thanks to my lovely Aussie roommate we drove down to the mouth of Murray River, the place where the Murray River meets the Southern Ocean and the Coorong to attend a traditional ceremony, a celebration of life within the Murray-Darling system, the Ringbalin River Country Spirit Ceremony. Indegenous and non-indegenous people alike would dance the creation stories and sing the spirits back into the fragile rivers, the lifeblood of Australia. Being a part of this traditional ceremony, surely altered in some aspects yet still holding the ancient idea was extremely relieving and in a sense spiritual, one of those unexplainable feelings you cannot really describe unless you experience it yourself. Oh I wish such rites were a part of a daily Australian life!

After the ceremony everybody mingled and had a chat, the host – the Aboriginal elder, after a hospitable convo headed back to his camper but just before leaving he uttered words that would linger in my head for a looong, long time – welcome to Australia, welcome to the land of my people, welcome to MY land. And you could tell this land belongs to him as much as he belongs to the land of his fathers and no government can EVER change it. Thus his words to me meant more than a thousand greetings prior, greatly appreciated yet wanting of that spiritual element I have finally discovered.

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