Abstract: Many Aboriginal people ‘worry for country’ with concerns for declining ecological condition of custodial lands. What do Arrernte people value within a landscape? How are these values inter-related? This presentation introduces the concept of Anpernirrentye by which Arrernte and other desert people see close relationships between iconic bush food species, people who are custodians for species and places, and the Altyerr (‘Creation time, Laws’). This concept guides their ecological restoration processes. Arrernte testimony about bush food plants is structured into domains and elements that combine into a traditional ecological knowledge system. A DVD segment will be shown to enliven the Anpernirrentye concept. The major domains drawn are Altyerr, Apmer (‘Country’), Tyerrtye (‘People’) and these are centred on Merne (‘Plant food’). Three cultural keystone species (Ahakeye, Akatyerr and Yalke) illustrate each domain. The domains and elements of this system align with traditional values within a landscape. Practical implications for ecological restoration or ‘fixing up country’ are identified. We ask that ecological restoration focus upon the places and species of highest value to Aboriginal people; these places and species are likely to also be of high ecological significance. Involvement of traditional owners in ecological restoration processes provides an opportunity for knowledge and language to be handed to younger Arrernte and other Aboriginal generations. On Arrernte lands, owners include people of the right ‘skin’ who are Apmereke-artweye (‘owner’) and Kwertengerle (‘manager’) of the place or species. These people are able to guide restoration work in respect to their knowledge of the Altyerr. Author biographies Veronica Perurrle Dobson is a senior eastern Arrernte speaker. She has worked as an educator, interpreter and in bush foods research. She is currently active in wetland restoration and inter-generational education. She has co-authored the ‘Eastern and Central Arrernte Dictionary’ and authored the book ‘Arrernte traditional healing’. Fiona Walsh is an ethnoecologist at CSIRO with part funding from Desert Knowledge CRC. She has worked on Martu, Warlmanpa, Arrernte and other lands over 20 years. Her current research is on the sustainability of small-scale commercial bush food species and Aboriginal employment in NRM. She has authored & co-edited a book on community-based planning and published on Aboriginal customary harvest systems and cross-cultural land management. Josie Douglas is an Indigenous Research Fellow at Charles Darwin University. She is descended from the Wardaman people of south-west Katherine, Northern Territory. Her current research is on the sustainability of small-scale commercial bush food species and Aboriginal cultural programs in remote education funded by Desert Knowledge CRC.
Dobson, V, Walsh, F, Douglas, J, 2009, Anpernirrentye (Relationships between people, plants, laws and all things): Arrernte values in landscapes and iconic bush food species, Conference Paper, viewed 03 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=4666.