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Do we own the land?


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In this short film, we meet Bob Randall, a Yankunytjatjara elder who is one of the Stolen Generations of the Aboriginal people and is a traditional owner of Uluru (Ayer's Rock), a large rock formation in the Northern Territory in central Australia. Bob has worked as a teacher and leader for Aboriginal land rights, education, and cultural awareness - themes explored in this lesson.

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Bob Randall, a Yakunytjatjara elder, is a member of the Stolen Generations and was taken from his family at 7 years old. From the late 1800s to the 1970s, children were removed from their indigenous families by past Australian Federal, State, and Territory government agencies and church missions. Those children taken from the authorities were not allowed to be visited by their families. This was to stop the indigenous communities from passing on their culture and language to others.

Randall is a traditional owner of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, one of the most famous natural sites in Australia. It measures about 2,822 feet tall and is 5.8 miles in circumference.

In this short film, Randall explains that all beings are interconnected and part of a vast family – people can treat the land with unconditional love and respect. Randall states, “Life is the binding and the connecting way that the oneness is. If you are alive, you connect to everything else that is alive.” Randall and his community believe that the land, in fact, owns its people. He says, “No human is older than the land itself.”

Randall expresses a new way of conceptualizing our connection to the world around us. While our lives are fleeting, the land remains and bears witness to the birth, death and changes of all living things. Traditionally, nature is considered to provide resources. As Randall explains, this paradigm distances us from the connection to the land and to each other.

Read more about the theme of land ownership in this article.

Read more about Uluru’s Rock (Ayers Rock) and when it was returned to the Australian Aborigines in this article.

To learn more about Australia's 'Stolen Generation', read this article.

Biologist EO Wilson, in this TED talk, My Wish: To Build an Encyclopedia of Life, discusses life on Earth and how living creatures are interconnected.

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