‘Because of her. We can!’ – Mother Earth
The word ‘Her’ can have a different meaning to many people. That’s why this NAIDOC week our Yolngu staff members, originally from Northeast Arnhem Land, are celebrating the term ‘Her’ in a cultural context.
Firstly, they acknowledge and refer to ‘Her’ as Mother Earth because of ‘Her’ existence. Without Mother Earth, transitioning from the realm of the Dream Time to earth would not occur. Mother Earth allows for answers to be given to questions such as ‘what we are and how we are today.’ She is a calming force who will always be there and forever consistent.
‘Her’, in the Yolngu culture also refers to the matriarch of the family kinship system, which is the maternal grandmother. It is the maternal grandmother who gives consent or who is consulted about everything regarding one’s self, such as when to be initiated, inheriting ceremonial duties and other cultural obligation, and which skin name is inherited.
‘Because of Her. We can!’ takes on the strong meaning of connection and guidance in Yolngu culture. Yolngu people will forever be tied to ‘Her’, through the love of land and respect; it is ‘Her’ who always has a vital role to play.