Mparntwe Sacred Sites: Caterpillar
Thomas Stevens, Max Stuart and Peter Renehan all speak about the importance of the custodianship of the land, and explain that when the land is not cared for, the people get sick.
Summary by Romaine Moreton
The Arrernte people in this clip talk about the importance of protecting the sites created by the ancestor caterpillar being. Indigenous people have a familial connection with land, and it is this perspective that values the land differently to Westerners. An example of this different value system is evident in a decision in 1983 by the government to desecrate a sacred site in order to build a road to the casino.
Mparntwe Sacred Sites Synopsis
A documentary about the sacred sites of Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and how the development of Alice Springs affected the cultural traditions of the Arrernte people.
Mparntwe Sacred Sites is a documentary that speaks about a clash of beliefs. The development of Alice Springs interfered with the cultural practice of the Arrernte people, and in this documentary the Arrernte people speak of having to compromise with the developers in order to protect sites. Mparntwe Sacred Sites is about two cultural beliefs existing in the same space. While the Arrernte have Dreaming stories thousands of years old that tell how the land was given formation, the Arrernte people interviewed say these stories are ‘not believed’ by the developers. The importance of being able to practice culture and protect the land is inherent to wellbeing. Arrernte elders in Mparntwe Sacred Sites give us an intensive history of the area of Mparntwe (Alice Springs), and the journey of the many ancestral beings that gave Mparntwe its form. It is during the National Native Title Tribunal hearings of 1997 that Native Title was recognised in Alice Springs.
Notes by Romaine Moreton