Bushtucker and Medicine
Our Country continues to nourish us by providing bush tucker and medicine.
Over 200 years ago, our ancestors were the experts who managed this land. They were the first conservationists who respected the environment and had the right management in place. They knew of our Country’s plants and animals, cycles and systems. They understood the role that fire plays in regeneration and in promoting the balance of species and ecosystems. This knowledge has been built up over generations of observation and management, and passed down to us and now we are the experts.
We are gardeners of the environment. We care for the land and it provides for us. We use lomandra and matt rush to weave baskets. We hunt wallaby, emu and goanna. We eat the eels, mussels, crayfish and yellow belly from our streams. We gather bardi grubs and duck eggs, nardoo and yam daisies and wattle seeds for food and medicine. We use buloke and red gum timber for our tools and ceremonies.
We need to manage our Country in the right way so that we want to continue to provide for our food and medicinal needs into the future.
We will understand what plants and animals now exist on Country, and what condition they are in, so we can practice our 40,000 year of sustainability.
We are re-building the capacity of the Dja Dja Wurrung Country community to actively manage our traditional lands and waters to protect the plants and animals that are important to us. We will promote the right species in the right places, so they can provide for us in a sustainable way and we will get out on Country to hunt and gather together.
Our Country is under threat. Many of the land management practices of modern times are not well suited to our environment – European farming techniques, inappropriate fire regimes and overfishing are all upsetting the natural balance of our ecosystems. Pests and pathogens are displacing native species and infecting our plants and animals. In some cases, the shift in ecosystem composition is causing an over-abundance of native species like kangaroo, which is increasing the demand on already limited food resources.
The changes that we are seeing in the climate are placing pressure on already fragile ecosystems, and we expect this impact to continue.
Addressing these issues is difficult for Dja Dja Wurrung people as there are still institutional barriers to participating in the management of Country. The recognition and Settlement Agreement addresses some of this and our relationship with government and other natural resource managers is improving. However, our knowledge is not often sought and we are still rarely included in the natural resource management decisions that are made on our Country. We continue to work to change this so that Country can be healthy in the long term.
Through our business, Djandak, we are contracted to eradicate our Country of plant and animal pests. We revegetate our sick landscapes and replant our bush tucker and medicinal plants.