This montage of shared stories and snapshots of the lives of 127 eminent men and women of central Australia is engaging, stimulating, humorous, exciting and at times tragically sad.
As Rachel Perkins writes in her preface to the book, country is 'the profound and uniting force that underpins everything'. Aboriginal people have a connection to land that is inherently different to the European concept of ownership, control and borders. They had no fences, but they had clearly defined communities, each with their own language, song and law.
From the moment of colonisation, Europeans failed to understand the importance of country. They failed to recognise – and therefore to value – the complex cultures and legal systems, and the sustainability, of Indigenous land management. They did not understand that country is reflected through stories, song, dance, hunting, fishing and ceremony. They also did not understand that language carries culture in every place and that there were so many languages already in Australia, languages reflecting the cultures of the first people.
Every Hill Got a Story is a rich primary resource and a rare opportunity to hear from people telling their own stories in their own words. These Aboriginal voices from central Australia tell of cultural identity, change and resilience.
ATOM has produced a study guide for Every Hill Got a Story, which is available to download for free at www.metromagazine.com.au. (Click on 'Study guides'.)
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