Video: The land owns us

Bob Randall, a Yankunytjatjara elder from Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) in Australia points out the simple conceit upon which our destructive relationship with this planet is based: the idea that the land on which we depend belongs to us.

Randall describes what in many ways is the universal indigenous experience of a sense of place: that the place in which we emerge into this world is the place to which we belong. It is not a place we go in search of; it is where we are.

The antithesis of this experience is the enterprise of colonization in which “new” land is “discovered” and then claimed in ownership. Embedded in such a claim is a contradiction. The colonizer asserts his entitlement to the land in spite of the fact that his roots lie elsewhere. Unable to trace his ancestral roots within the land he inhabits and unwilling to highlight how far away those roots lead, he constructs a mythological past through which ownership acquires divine authority.

Randall features in this film about the world’s oldest living culture:

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