Without their Stories, Songs and their Lands, ninija and her people cannot and do not survive. The Stories and Songs help them to survive the hardest place to live on planet Earth, the very centre of Australia – Uluru – the belly-button of Father earth.
If the people are taken away from the Lands, like the young straightbacks have been and exposed to the ways of white-ghosts, they get sick and die quickly. But the white settlers cannot understand why the Desert people cannot adapt to their civilized ways of living. They cannot adapt to theirs, and they do not even try to, seeing nothing good in their savage lives. They are rude and uninvited trespassers in ninija’s Lands.
They know just how essential Nature is in the lives of these desert peoples, but ‘white-word-fella’ has happily gone ahead and blasted his way through the Lands. He uses what ninija calls his magic fire bangers (dynamite) to destroy the Earth’s skin. But these sacred Rocks are the Earth skeletons of the masters of creation, the Sky Heroes. Their stone bodies and characters surround them in their desert lives. And the Heroes are the givers of the Dreaming Stories and Songs and Laws of traditional life.
They made the settlements she and her people inhabit now in this way, and many others like it across the vast Lands of Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania.
“When he’s finished blasting the sacred Rocks, his big trucks bring sheets of magic metal with square wooden frames painted with stinking preservatives we not know in Desert. Houses for the old and sick and for children are a must, but they don’t ask for opinions or permission. They say there no need coz ninija is only woman leader and she pay no money for the Lands so she not own them!”
When everything was finished at the new settlement, white men went into the desert to round up ninija and her people. They drove them back to their new permanent home like cattle. There are no gates to keep them imprisoned, but they obey.
“White-fella, he take charge of us poor savages. We like children who live rough.”
ninija feels helpless. But the Europeans see only the hard struggle for survival they have in desert life. He cannot see either the beauty or the freedom. So, he opens up his bog black wings to cover them, saying ‘primitive’ and ‘ancient’ should be swept away from view as quickly as possible. They must be replaced with ‘modern’ and ‘civilised.’