Walking on Country 2019
The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) once again hosted Walking on Country, inviting non-indigenous members of the church to visit country and learn about First People’s culture, spirituality and challenges.
This year’s Walking on Country took place in Central Australia and Outback NSW from June 15 – 30.
UAICC NSW and the ACT Chairperson Dianne Torrens and the Moderator Rev. Simon Hansford were among the participants of Walking on Country 2019.
Below the Moderator, Rev. Simon Hansford, reflects on the journey through country.
It is always a profound pleasure, returning to the west, and further west, where the sky goes on forever.
I shared the journey from Dubbo (Wiradjuri country), to Wellington (Wiradjuri), then Wilcannia (Barkindji), Broken Hill (Wilyakali), Port Augusta (Barngarla), Wilpena Pound (Adnyamathanha), Coober Pedy (Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara) and Alice Springs (Arrente). Others began in Wagga Wagga (Wiradjuri) and had a week to go, after I left in the Alice.
The journey was one of understanding, discovery and self-discovery, and much was achieved through the leadership of those on our tour and, significantly, through those we met, both formally and informally.
For many on our journey, this was a first time in remote Australia, meeting the silence and the stories, which were both confronting and transforming. Listening is critical, and we – all of us – have much more to do.
I am thankful for those who led, who organised, who spoke, who listened, and who will continue to do so.