Friday, September 06, 2013

Documentary - The Men of the Fifth World (Australian Aboriginals)


The idea of the "Fifth World," strangely, comes from Native American tradition (Navajo and Hopi of the American Southwest - and before them the Aztecs of Central America), not from Australia Aboriginal tradition, as might be suggested by the title of this documentary from 2000.

The synopsis of the 52-minute film offered at the Top Documentary site, where I found this, is seriously effusive and poetic. On the other hand, it is a beautiful film of an intriguing people. Like Canada, Australia does a lot more to support the aboriginal cultures than does the United States. Still these people and their unique culture - a link to our shared human history - are in danger of fading away.



The Men of the Fifth World

They are the original inhabitants of the land called Australia by the white man. They have been there since the beginning of time, since the dream time, when everything they know was created. Their people know how to sing each and every place of this sacred country, while they contemplate Gee, the Sun God. Each song is a living map, which describes a specific path, the course of a river, a mountain or forest. If you brought together all these songs, which are passed down from generation to generation, and which come from dreams, they would compose the map of Australia.

At twilight, the humming of the Didgeridoo, their religious instrument, reminds them who they are and what they are doing there. It is the beat of their tradition, which keeps them united and attached to the land. Yaka Garimala, an Australian aborigine as foreigners call them, is going to tell you what their world is like.

His country is enormous. It is the most beautiful country in the world. They have deserts, jungles, savanna, plateaus and mountains with deep canyons carved by furious torrents. The sea is all around. Along their coast, there are bays and inlets and sacred cliffs like the one of Bickerton Island. This is where he lives.

The elders have the important task of initiating the young into their customs, explaining their history to them and teaching them to respect the traditional laws. They were already there thousands of years ago. They were around at the same time as what the white man call Homo sapiens. In the caves and caverns, they can feel the influence of the spirits of their ancestors. If you sleep there, you can see them in your dreams and receive their messages. They come and fill you with their strength, and when you wake, you feel very good.

These are sacred places for them. In the past, people lived in caves and natural shelters like those. Across all their territory, you can find paintings made by their forefathers in which they speak of the dreamtime, the creation and how they lived 50,000 years ago. In the Kakadu National Park lies a block where the rainbow serpents stopped after creating the world, and was painted on a rock so that people could see her. Over time, their forefathers left on the rocks a complete collection of images which depict their way of life and their beliefs.
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