Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Max Dillon

This resource is related to the following Learning Areas –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q6.How the Kombumerri cared for Country.
Q12.Sharing stories about the past and present and passing on to the next generation.
Q70.Traditional foods – meals, rituals, eating times?
Q72.How do Indigenous families communicate health needs to their children?

Resource transcript –

Spiritual wellbeing is very important, especially in the bush. There’s laws and rules around places you can and can’t go. If you trespass on a site that’s forbidden, whether it’s a place for clever men or a place for women’s business or men’s business you can be opening up… opening yourself up to a type of spiritual sickness. Afore contact all sicknesses and diseases could be treated with the bush, with the pharmacy that was available and with the guidance of a clever man. He could help address what type of sickness or what sort of plants had to be applied and if it was something that was outside of the realm of the pharmacy, it was a spiritual sickness. One of the big ones that people would have to overcome is things like depression which are fairly common today but with practical things such as singing in corroboree, it makes people very happy. Our social circles, they make people very happy. So, being advised not to go into the bush on your own for too long was one of those things. Because being on your own, being in your own company, could open up, you know, open yourself up to be depressed and go into depression and ultimately come under a spiritual attack and the types of things that take place in the bush to keep your spiritual wellbeing… a practical thing is burying where you go the toilet. So, if you’re going to go to the toilet in the bush our practice was to cover it up because if you didn’t a spirit or a bad… something bad natured could come and track your scent down and follow you. And, so, these were the types of things that we learnt to do practically. Because it’s good housekeeping, you know, it’s about how we treat others and, you know, not leaving that mess there for anyone else but also for ourselves, our own spiritual selves, and our happiness so we walk away and know that we’ve done the right thing. But, definitely wellbeing for our people related to our social systems and our social practices and the things that we were taught with our upbringing. So, not taking too much away from country for… if we want something to eat, there was rules involved because we’re ultimately going to leave the next person without something to eat or put such a stress on that environment that it’s going to hurt ourselves and, you know, and spiritually. And, that can be revealed in different messages and different things, to tread lightly on country because that’s part of the way that we maintain our happiness is that we’ve done the right thing. We feel good about ourselves and that’s something we can do now. If, you know, if we feel passionate about something, whether it’s cleaning up the beach or going for a walk and just putting a bit of rubbish in the bin or whatever it is, you feel good about yourself and it’s doing something for others but it’s also for yourself.