Don’t let our differences be a barrier. We can love each other and all of the living creatures. It is your responsibility as well as mine. Let us meet our responsibility to care for one another and all living things. – Bob Randall
Bob Randall is a Yankunytjatjara Elder and a traditional owner of Uluru (Ayers Rock) who has worked throughout his life as a teacher and leader for Aboriginal land rights, education, community development and cultural awareness. As a dear friend to the UPLIFT community, “Uncle Bob” has shared his beautiful presence, his songs, his wisdom and stories with us for many years. In 2014, Uncle Bob hosted the People of the Earth of La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, who came to Uluru as part of a global pilgrimage to unify the healing efforts of Indigenous elders and people around the world in a Declaration to Restore Mother Earth.
The following is a glimpse into his sharing about his time with the People of the Earth and their unified message for each of us to remember our true relationship with all of life and to embrace our deep responsibility to care for Mother Earth.
As a traditional custodian of Uluru, what is the significance of the People of the Earth of the Sierra Nevada and indigenous elders from around the world visiting Uluru?
We’re hooking up with some beautiful people and they are visiting our sites. It’s really hot and they are bravely putting up with it so that they can have an understanding of the way we look after our country… which is similar and different to the way they do it.
They are learning about our plants and our little critters and they are picking up the condition of the land in their spiritual way, and to see how they can help.
One of the things that’s impressed me is their relationship to the land. They too refer to the land as their Mother, which is also what our culture does. When you start using that kind of language you realize that you are related to every other thing on Mother Earth.
Given the current state of the planet, what is the message to humanity from this meeting of the tribes and cross-cultural collaboration?
The whole aim of both our cultures is to let the whole world know that they too belong to the same family and to start caring for the land, for the environment, for the mountains and waterways and the trees, and every other living thing on this earth as brothers and sisters and family members. That’s our greatest dream and desire, to see that happen.
…We need to unite together and share our care on a large scale. At the moment we are all doing it in isolation. So when we come together it brings the joy of unification to know that we are not alone. It brings great joy to us and must also bring joy to the land.
How can we each begin to live a personal commitment to Restoring Mother Earth?
Become involved with the locals of different areas. Listen to the stories of that part of the country where you are close. Get to know the local people who need support in doing the work we are doing. If they are doing something special, join them.
We all must care for country. We must care for our Mother.
I think Mother Earth is expecting us to do that. She is waiting with open arms and she is saying, “Yes. I need your help. Come help me.” It’s all of us. No more passing the buck.
We all are responsible for our Mother Earth and we should not be shy and hold back from the caring. Accept it as our personal responsibility and care. They are all our brothers and sisters. Let us accept that everything around us is our family and we are related. Let us accept that our caring must not only be in words but in action.
What have we got for our children? What are we leaving for our children? We are caretakers for what belongs to our children and their chrildren and their children’s children. – Bob Randall
That’s the way our people teach us when we are growing up. You are not owners of anything. Mother Earth owns you and you look after her just the same way that you would look after your Mother here because they also have given you lots of other relatives who are not human, but you are still responsible for their welfare and wellbeing.
That’s the good part about it. We are not alone. The whole purpose of our living is to relate well to every other thing as family.
Once we do that everything will be made right.