Australian Catholic University
This article briefly analyses a collaborative effort which took place in October 2010, as families from the Mowanjum Aboriginal community in the Kimberley reconnected with their traditional lands with non-Indigenous support. For the non-Indigenous participants the journey included the challenge of crossing thresholds from the familiar into the Other, of following protocols, and of being invited to be a part of a wider relationship of people, land and spirituality. Thus issues of place and hospitality profoundly affected the collaborative relationship.
Being with Aboriginal people on their land and on their terms challenges a Western understanding of collaboration, which is often time and work-centred. Furthermore, the Aboriginal people became hosts in their land, which affirms among collaborators the importance of protocols, of right actions and following rather than leading in the relationship. As a small group of non-Indigenous participants discovered, such relationship with Mowanjum families as they returned to land brought new opportunities for learning and being together with an understanding of what it meant to be a guest on Aboriginal lands.