When I was young – before the times of digital devices and games – I used to be sent outside to play with my siblings and cousins and friends. We would make up our own fun and sometimes not come home till dinner time.
A lot of time in my younger years I spent On Country, with family members and Elders – playing, relaxing and learning about our culture and traditions and connecting with the land that is part of who we are as First Nations people. That time was very special to me and still is to this day. It strengthens who I am, and helps me feel calm so that I can respond more effectively to the stresses of everyday city-living.
It is even more important now, when Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids and young people are so absorbed with modern distractions, that we allow and encourage them to engage and connect with and enjoy the natural world. By doing this we give them a chance to calm down, relax, and discover the fun and knowledge that the natural world can provide.
I want to see more kids have the chance to get On Country where they can relax, play and take part in activities which will also help with sharing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures.
I hope that during Children’s Week, and at other times, a lot more kids and young people will have a chance to visit and enjoy Ngunnawal Country in and around Canberra.