We must all care for the bila (river).
Rivers always have, and always will be significant to Aboriginal people. They sustain us by providing water, food and a place to bathe ourselves and our young. They are significant land features and were often well travelled, either by walking or by traditional canoes.
We often refer to them as key pathways, as they traditionally led our people to other significant areas for ceremonies and initiation. You will often find cultural trees and grinding grooves nearby, which guided the next generation on the same journeys and provided a place to stop and grind food, sharpen spear heads and axes. Through intimate knowledge connecting rivers, stars and planets, our people were able navigate across long distances and country guided by these sacred pathways.
These two videos feature Wally and Tyronne Bell talking with Adam Shipp (who wrote this article) about rivers as pathways and lifelines for Aboriginal people.
Adam is the Indigenous Engagement and Training Officer with Greening Australia Capital Region.