A shared history

Curtis Taylor

The Canning Stock Route is about connection. It’s about water, life and history. It’s my tie to my traditional homeland. I can lay claim to all the stories that are associated with these areas. 

The stories hold the knowledge of the country and the sacred areas. They hold knowledge of life. It’s a necessity to have that in this day and age when you see young people off doing drugs and wanting to be part of a culture that isn’t their own. It’s the stories that really matter to us. We want to keep our story how it’s always been; how it always will be. 

The best thing for me [about the Canning Stock Route project] was getting to know where my people come from, and not just the history that’s written in Western books, but also the Dreamtime – the history that we share through our stories, songs and dance. There was a part of me that was looking for this. 

I’ve gained a lot of things. Knowledge is the big one: juggaburra. Juggaburra encompasses everything. White men call it the Dreamtime but it means the universe – song, dance, land, culture, law, listening to my old people and honouring the ancestors from the past while looking forward to tomorrow. 

It’s not just about aboriginals. This is our history – Australia’s history – and we shouldn’t be ashamed because this is what happened. All of these artists [in the exhibition] are still alive today and can tell their personal stories of the conflict and encounters with the drovers on the stock route. We can’t go forward unless we look back at what we’ve done.

About the author:

Curtis Taylor is a young film-maker who has produced a number of short films describing the history and culture of Parngurr (Cotton Creek), his home community in Martu Country


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