EXCLUSIVE: Indigenous artist Nainiouman shares ways we can care for country in these trying times
Finding inspiration for her emotive recent track Dominion back in 2018, Indigenous artist Nainiouman (aka Rachel Shields) strikes a poignant and increasingly-relevant note with Dominion offering a protest and outlet for frustrations over the mismanagement of country and the destructive impact of biodiversity and ecological health.
With the recent bushfires bringing the importance of caring for Country to the forefront while the world appears to crumble around us in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a significant pathos and timely importance in Nainiouman's striking cinematic-rock outing, mixed by Chris Hancock (Elefant Traks, Seekae) and mastered at Metropolis Studios in London.
“I began working on this track in late-2018, it was like a premonition. I couldn't quite find the emotion for what it was about and it then sat on hold until late-2019. November and December saw fires rage throughout Australia, and emotion fuelled an overwhelming need to finish the song. In witnessing events in real time and on social media, it became like a theme song to what was going on.The emotions in me became the song, and it all needed to be expressed. I got back in the studio and finished the recording while the land continued to burn; it was hard to breathe every day because of the smoke. At the time, I was volunteering at a disaster relief centre and helping out where I could, so it was very raw and emotional. The people, land and animals all hurting… and they still are”. - Nainiouman
Deeply connected to land and community, Nainiouman is a strong advocate for caring for Country, and today she shares some ways we can all care for this land we share together.
Learn about the Indigenous Country you are in and include the local people in guiding decision making with Country.
Become aware of your natural environment, take notice of what the animal and plant life is doing in your area. Begin to map it out so you can see the seasons emerge. Find out what is an original native of that area and what has been introduced, both from overseas and from other regions of Australia.
Include local Indigenous people and recognise the wealth of innate connection to the spirit of life in the land.
Understand that the animals and plant life work together. That the animals and plants are intelligent and the working relation between them is what indicates health or imbalance of a landscape. Respect that nature is far more intelligent than we understand.
Both Nature and local Indigenous peoples can help you understand what is required as best practice for healthy ecology, respect what you don't know and be open to learning alongside.
Share the responsibility in applying best practice in Caring for Country, as it is a responsibility. It was always shared, therefore it succeeded for thousands of years. Like it requires a community to raise a child, it requires a community to care for Country. There are many systems within Country, as within our bodies. Nothing exists in isolation from anything else, it all works together.
Unlike a weekly exercise class that you attend for an hour or so, Caring for Country is a constant contribution that becomes an element of your life. It shifts alongside the seasons as to how best to walk with Country, yet it is not a matter of picking it up then putting it down. It requires us to decide what holds long term importance for life to exist at all.
Don't wait for tomorrow to action change. Stand up for the land, the animals, the knowledge holders and support best practice to become everyday practice.
NAINIOUMAN’S NEW TRACK ‘DOMINION’ IS OUT NOW. WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW AND STREAM ON ALL MAJOR STREAMING PLATFORMS. FOR MORE INFO, HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER