In celebration of International Earth Day, we wanted to take a closer look at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ connection to Country, and how it can impact their mental health and wellbeing.
To Aboriginal people, ‘Earth Day’ is every day. David Edwards, Director of the WellMob Indigenous Wellbeing website and proud Worimi man describes his connection to country stating
“the earth is our mother, the source of our origins and being. Some of our non-Indigenous Australian brothers and sisters refer to her as ‘mother earth’ too. But to us, our mother is sacred. She holds us, provides for us and regenerates for us. We are obliged to look after her, just like our own mums. We cant show her disrespect in action, word or intent. When I think of ‘Earth Day,’ I get emotional about looking after mother, mother earth. Her oceans, fresh waters, bush and mountains. Its all part of who I am as an Aboriginal man.”
First Nations people’s connection to country is an interdependent and reciprocal relationship, passed down through generations as living cultural knowledge. By supporting and caring for the Earth we care for our own mental health and wellbeing as well. So let’s celebrate mother earth together, tread lightly and take action to look after her on this special day and everyday.
The resources below can all be found on the WellMob website and are designed to support First Nations people strengthen or explore their connection to country, as well as helping non-Indigenous support workers to understand the importance of Country to their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. Explore these resources at the links below or find more resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian social, emotional and cultural wellbeing at https://wellmob.org.au/.
The Dreamtime story of the Barrimirndi
An animation about caring for Country and the importance of protecting our rivers. This Pilbara dreamtime story explains how the Barrimirndi and freshwater collided with the sea to form the Fortescue River, narrated by Yindjibarndi Elder Middleton Cheddy.
The Whole Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child
This short video explains what social and emotional wellbeing means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This resource was designed for non-indigenous health and wellbeing workers and carers, children and youth workers and anyone wanting to learn about the importance of culture in the wellbeing of indigenous children. It talks about how connection to country, culture, spirituality, family, and community are all parts of a child’s wellbeing.
An app about the Warlpiri culture. It helps support wellbeing and prevent suicide by having strong connections to culture. Designed by Warlpiri Elders in the Northern Tanami Desert, Lajamanu Community, the app aims to support young people and anyone wanting to connect with Warlpiri knowledge and culture.
Short films where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities share the stories behind place names of their Country. In each episode Indigenous communities share the meaning behind the name of their land insights into their country.
Dreamy: sleep stories from First Nations storytellers
This podcast app consists of a collection of sleep stories created by First Nations storytellers. These sleep stories bring a tradition of storytelling as old as time into the digital space. The stories are grounded in connection to Country and provide listeners with a sense of calmness that may help with sleep difficulties.