Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Griffith Center for Coastal Management, Griffith University, Brisbane
Greetings from Dr Christine Black
I have been asked to contribute to this conference through this intermediary of writing a few paragraphs to convey a message from Australia. As an Indigenous woman of the Kombumerri and Munaljahalai peoples I want to first acknowledge the spirits of your lands and those who have come before you and those who will come after you. Your continent is a powerful and vast land that has experienced continuous invasion like no other continent on this earth. And yet it prevails and gives your people life. We should all be thankful for what the land we walk upon each day gives to us personally. Furthermore your Indigenous Peoples have survived through all these invasions and have preserved and protected the ancient knowledge of your lands. To preserve a culture and law takes strength and moral fortitude. It is not preserved by technology but relationships, relationships between humans and their beloved land. Land teaches people how to live on it, and to understand the law of a land takes thousands of years of caring for land.
Australia has a unique responsibility to the world. That responsibility is to must preserve and perpetuate the oldest continuous culture and law in the world. This is a great honor bestowed upon Australians by providence.
It has also been my personal responsibility to continue and share that ancient knowledge and law. I have carried out this responsibility by writing a book on Indigenous legal theory entitled The Land is the Source of the Law: A Dialogic Encounter of an Indigenous Jurisprudence. (Routledge). This book is made up of many stories of how the law of sharing and caring is the most important moral compass a peoples can live by. That caring begins with caring for the Land and environment. The book is not just meant for academics, as the knowledge of our Senior Law People is for everyone to learn how important it is to understand that lawful behaviour comes from caring for Land and not just ourselves.
I have also been asked to pose a question to the participants. I would therefore ask; who, in your opinion has demonstrated moral courage which others of the South could learn from? In other words who are your heroes and how can citizens of other nations in the South learn from their exemplar moral behavior.
¿Qui, en su opinión, ha demostrado coraje moral que otros del Sur puede aprender? ¿En otras palabras, que son sus héroes y cómo pueden los ciudadanos de otras naciones en el Sur de aprender de su comportamiento ejemplar moral?
A statement and question offered to participants of the symposium Diálogo Trans-Pacífico y Sur-Sur: Perspectivas Alternativas a la Cultura y Pensamiento Eurocéntrico y Noroccidental, University of Santiago, 8-9 January 2013