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Just because we are black they look at us as one, and we don’t see it. We got our own areas to abide by the laws. With us we have been trained to speak the English; they can’t talk our languages, Warlpiri or any other languages that are there. We can speak fluently – they can’t, you know – can speak fluent in our language and fluent in theirs. They don’t understand. The white world it’s come like a big rock and rolled us over and we don’t say no don’t you dare roll us over because we are who we are. The trees and everything that is around is us and connected to us. Rex Japanangka Granites, Senior Warlpiri man.

Photography by Belinda Mason.

Rex Japanangka Granites is a Senior Warlpiri man from the Western Desert and a custodian for Mina Mina Dreaming and an ordained Pastor. He speaks Warlpiri and English and has extensive experience interpreting and translating. His work as a mentor is in high demand as he seeks to resolve the social conflicts which beset many communities. He’s an award-winning artist and recently received an ANU scholarship to engage in postgraduate studies. This builds on his Bachelor of Education from Deakin University. He is working with the University of Sydney to document his interpretation of the connection between the Indigenous law and Christian faith. Rex’s remarkable breadth of experience includes being a representative for ATSIC, several years as Chairman for the Central Lands Council, and as a Teaching Chairperson for the World Council of Indigenous People. Rex is a strong advocate for access to country and access to bush food, which is part of the physical and spiritual healing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. He is engaged in these activities to reduce the amount of illness and disability in his community. Rex is a close friend and colleague of mine.

Professor Steve Bevis

Chaplin, University of New South Wales