Excellence Reporter: Dr. Poelina, what is the meaning of life?
Dr. Anne Poelina: I think of this question from the perspective that I am a Nyikina Warrwa Traditional Custodian from the Kimberley region of Australia. When I introduce myself I say ‘ngayoo yimardoowarra marnil’ which means I belong to the Mardoowarra, the mighty Fitzroy River. So in terms of property rights, the Mardoowarra owns me and I am duty bound to protect the Mardoowarra’s right to life!
In my language we have a word Bookarrakarra, this is not the Dreamtime, but rather the Dreaming Time. A concept of fusing time from the past, into the present with the future being now in which we must act, with wisdom and humility. This is important in responding to what is the meaning of life?
I believe, that human and non-human beings have a an equal right to life and that the meaning of life is inter-dependent on all things. Most importantly a deep and continuing respectful inter-generational relationship with nature.
The meaning of life hangs in the balance of co-existence between all life. This balance is grounded in the values and ethics and the belief that the law is in the land–it is not in man! Importantly that we need to govern and manage the ‘commons’ for the greater common good. The meaning of life is facing great uncertainty–we appear to be moving from climate change to climate chaos.
I believe if we are to halt being swallowed up by a new dark age we must maintain the resilience of our lives by strengthening our deep relationship by falling in love again with nature. Without the wellbeing of nature to appreciate and value life, we as humans will not be able to sustain our humanity and the meaning of life in co-existence and harmony with our planet Mother Earth!
~Dr. Anne Poelina, Master Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Master Education, Master Arts (Indigenous Social Policy), and Doctor of Philosophy. Dr. Anne Poelina is the Managing Director of Madjulla Incorporated, is a Nyikina Traditional Custodian from the Mardoowarra, Lower Fitzroy River in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.
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