A senior custodian of Uluru has called for critics of the decision to ban climbing the rock to look at the situation from an Indigenous perspective.
Sammy Wilson told ABC’s 7:30 critics of the closure need to understand how the Anangu (the traditional owners) see the world.
“We don’t live in fenced-off squares. It’s time they came here in return and learned about our place and the way we see it — circular country,” he said through an interpreter.
Wilson said the closure was because of the sacred traditional knowledge, or Tjukurpa, which is the foundation of Anangu culture.
“Obviously there are some places we don’t want people to go or things for them to do, just as if I came into your house, you don’t want me to go into your bedroom, you might get upset,” he said.
“But Uluru is open and we’re keen for people to come.”
7:30 also spoke to critics of the closure, many of which thought it was a step too far.
“I can appreciate the respect for their spiritual areas, but at the same time it’s something that all Australians should have the right to do,” one said.
“We’re not going to take the rock away. It’s always going to be there, and the sacred law is always going to be part of it.” – Senior traditional owner of Uluru, Sammy Wilson #abc730
— abc730 (@abc730) July 22, 2019
Wilson also told the program he doesn’t believe the closure will hurt tourism in the area as he has noticed more people coming to “learn from us Anangu”.
“I enjoy people asking about and wanting to learn about our country.”
Uluru National Park manager Mike Misso backed up Wilsons point and said tourism demands remain strong.
“And a good example of that is at the moment, 87 per cent of people who come to the park don’t climb,” he told 7:30.
“So while the numbers will drop a bit, we don’t believe they’re going to drop in a significant way.”
Featured image source: ABC