The story is in the landscape. The only way to really know the story is to go to the land. This is what we inherited and we have the responsibility to ensure that the inheritance is given to the next generation to make sure that the original story is not left behind, but is taken with you.
In the sixties, when they started moving into here, children might have been shipped out by barge for years on end. Sometimes they came back, and a lot of them didn’t. To put a stop to it, one of the visionary leaders lobbied for a school in this area, so that the kids wouldn’t have to leave and lose their language, and come back and have to be reintegrated and now we’re retaking back our own destiny.
It’s really about language, culture, and way of life, nothing else. There is land and the stories that are stored in the landscape. The beading signifies the landscape, and the landscape is interwoven with the hides of the animals from the landscape and when you put it on, you can feel and carry those stories with you. So it fills a void within you from your own ancestry and makes a person whole.
It’s very hard to pretend to be somebody else to fit in and there’s no use doing that because you never learn to live, or you never learn to be who you are. The teaching is about its okay to be who you are, and you were already strong before this thing happened. You had the ability to pass it on to future generations and if there are any other challenges from the outside, you’re standing together to put your best foot forward, to meet those challenges so that those developments don’t destroy you, but make you stronger.