Changing Land 2: Floods & Crocs

 Katherine River has severely flooded Katherine town in 1957, '74, '98 and 2006. Yidumduma discusses the frequency of these devastating floods and the increasing numbers of crocodiles in his country and conservation efforts. He explains these changes from his cultural and Spiritual understanding and how we are not following the Law and "Caring for Country" proper.

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During the creation time, to us, we got a song.
Moon got a song.
That...include that everything up top also,
with the Milky Way, Southern Cross.
And they are part of the people, again,
they up top and all watching and looking.
Now, the Spiritual People was in the country, in the cave, living...
where we believe they still there today.
Because a number of years now...everything changes.
White men come along, put a bulldozer through the country, knock trees,
rocks and everything, scare...all the Spiritual People out,
and they come along to ask for mining rights,
they go down to dig up mine and all that. 
The Spirituals gone mad now, because they say,
"We got to do stop these people".
That's what we can see what going to happen.
Us old people...really knew what's going to happen because the older people told us.
Then we try to explain it to the younger one today.
Now...they sort of half-believing in all that,
but when you got the young in the bush, they really believe it.
But the one in town doesn't believe in much.
When the rivers are coming up and they get flooded,
because them other Spiritual People...underwater.
... "Oh, this town's going stupid", that's what they said.
"We must bring the water right up".
...then when they bring the water right up to the town area...
maybe to destroy the town,
then all these big crocodile and everything moving into the street
in town to eat all the food and everything.
They looking for people as well...
The crocodile in our country, they move into the main street,
in Woolworths and everything.
Big Woolworths, they got all the chicken and he be there.
Then they have a feed...if there's a roof sticking up on top in the flood water,
they going to sleep on top of the roof,
look out who's going to come in and swim, where,
that's what they do.
Back again in the early days, when I was a kid growing up in the country,
us Aborigines sort of kept the crocodile down.
We ate all the eggs we found, we killed crocodiles to live...that we eat ourselves.
Kept the numbers down all the way...
We mostly killed the male one, but we knew the female,
we didn't touch it, because we got to get more egg.
...we done all that.
Then...changing with this conservation...that's come along,
changing to not kill any crocodile...not burning off fires...not lit it..become a park...
They're the conservation people...who stopped it from harvesting the crocodile.
And the crocodiles...increased... They're everywhere!

In places where we are, was no crocodile at all.
Now the bigger crocodile chasing the little where we are on top of the hill.
...little creeks, like this, full of water.
When we cross over with the car, there's a crocodile going across,
only a small one, but we eat them.
But, the bigger one, the man-eating one, he's back behind it.
Place in Darwin, never had any crocodile. Now crocodile in Darwin.
Harbour there, everyone used to go down and swim...
now crocodile moving in there now.
All the way along the coast is the crocodile going around.
The crocodile will probably go right around the coast,
that's what...finish up
... everything changing with the crocodile.
Now...they said..."We have to harvest the crocodile."
A lot of people jump on the helicopters and
go out to collect all the crocodile egg...and take it back and put it on the farm.
They go down and tranquilise other bigger crocodile and put it on the farm.
But it's too late, they're only getting 20-30 but there's 3 million behind...still breeding up.
There's too many...every waterhole and spring you can see there's a crocodile...
From the 80's up, that's when the crocodile moving in to the shop...
when the river's right up.
The crocodile and's the Spiritual People...that's doing all this...
right across the country.

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