Country tracking voices: Dharug women’s perspectives on presences, places and practices
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 10:21 by Jo Anne Rey
Country Tracking Voices is a thesis that for the first time brings seven Dharug women’s voices to the written scholarship and broader academy. It is centered in the Australian Aboriginal belief that we belong and are obligated to caring for Country as it is the source of all species’ wellbeing and survival. The thesis engages with how seven Dharug custodians are continuing cultural practices, sharing Dharug knowledges and employing Dharug ways of caring, connecting and belonging. When Dharug Country covers the majority of Sydney, Australia, this thesis contributes knowledges for resilience and renewal to benefit all sentient beings. The ways of practicing Dharug culture today are diverse, educational and positive. They include puppetry, the visual arts, singing, dancing, possum-skin work, weaving, story-telling and poetry, as well as through customary ceremonies and practices. Equally the ways of undertaking research are diverse. This thesis challenges customary thesis methodologies by including the influence of other-than-humans in the research process. By recognizing the agency of Country, this research is able to acknowledge participant voices of birds, possums, and sandstone. It also positions the research method as ‘Goanna walking’, de-composes human-centricity and repositions us to the more sustainable place of being only one within a profound web of interconnectivity. What also makes this project unique is that for more than 200 years Dharug people, Country, practices and values have been talked about by others. In this thesis, we talk back. This project is not a representation of all Dharug people. It is instead a beginning. It offers Goanna’s trailing tail in the sand: simply a tale to follow.