This discussion seeks to quantify how (in english terms) each community sees itself as a community,region and part of global community...
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1/ I didn't steal anything.No, but you accept the benefits.Assets stolen from aboriginal people are the equity which powers your people.You live on Stolen land.
2/You have to move forward.So you would like me to accept the laws which were made to benefit you, and work hard to enrich those who are in posession of what was stolen from us? Fuck you!!
3/ Aboriginals must share responsibility for where they are today.Why,and how? We didn't have the guns and bullets used to massacre our people,nor the contaminated blankets.We didn't bring old diseases like smallpox or new diseases like aids.We didn't build cities which cluster way too many people where there are insufficient natural resources.We do not control any economic sector or resource.All have been stolen. Even the land and resources which we have fought for and some say you have given back, are locked in structures ( Such as Land Councils) according to the dictates of todays colonist government.The notion that we must share responsibility is ridiculous.
4/ I was born here.You may have been,but where was your culture born?My culture has been here 40,000 years, by your count.
5/ We all have equal rights.No, people of Anglo descent have laws which are based exclusively on their culture. According to those law makers,we should abide by laws which protect you,not us. There is no legal framework which protects us from you. Anglo numerical superiority is regulated and ensured at immigration level by Anglo dominated Federal Government.The rights whites enjoy are enforced on their behalf by anglo focussed and predominantly anglo-ethnic police,trained according to methods which originate in England.They are part of your community,not ours.Putting aboriginal people in those uniforms simply makes coconuts of the people,to be ridiculed and scorned by their communities as sellout traitors.
6/ Look what Aboriginals did with ATSIC: ATSIC was a government organisation subject to policies governance and mechanisms put in place by colonist government.Those laws and regulations ensured that ATSIC always maintained a dominant role in the entities created-and thereby set them up to fail. ATSIC did not have a process in place to ensure that incoming elected officers of entities were aware of ATSIC required governance issues.Unsurprisingly, those issues were breached with monotonous regularity.Because ATSICs largely non aboriginal bureaucracy and attendant contracted professionals did not put in place appropriate guidance governance and information management resources, ATSIC and many of its subservient aboriginal corporations failed.
7/ Government spends a billion dollars a year on aboriginals: Government allocations in the name of aboriginal people are by and large spent with the non aboriginal community, and on government assimilation projects. Under the Howard regime, funds expended opposing Aboriginal Land Claims were deducted from aboriginal budgets. Non aboriginal "consultants" and professionals conducting "research" required by the government, which most aboriginal community members neither know or care about. In 3 years of the NT intervention, government have managed to expend hundreds of millions in the name of our people.They built 3 houses,the only benefit I have seen.
8/ Aboriginals don't work:Those who do pay taxes,effectively funding their own repression.Much of the work done by aboriginals prior to 1970 remains unpaid,for both private and government employers.This means that cutting through the duplicitous language,aboriginal people were enslaved.Today many aboriginal people staff government directed semi autonomous organisations which bear the Aboriginal name somewhere in their title.In these roles,aboriginal people are typically paid less than their white counterparts who perform the same tasks in non-aboriginal focussed institutions.In health,the Rudd government gave regional doctors $25000 per nurse "or less for an aboriginal health worker."
9/We gave you the right to vote: Yes,having spent many years prior racing to stack the deck via your ten pound pom immigration policy to ensure that the vote was worthless to us.
10 We must all move forward together: Our timeline here in your terms is 40,000 years-longer than you are known to have inhabited where you come from.Your timeline kicks in 222 years ago. We've come this far separately.Why should we go forward with you in control and our peoples as subservient slaves?
Trying to fathom Western Australia's Premier Colin Barnett's extractive policy as fair reasonable and moral requires a spin doctoring effort of which the Federal Labor Party would be proud. Premier Barnett supports the protests calling for the cessation of Margaret River Coal Mining, for good reason-yet has initiated processes to confiscate aboriginal land at James Price Point in the States north east to enable a gas hub from which to distribute Gas from equally contentious offshore gasfields. Both place considerable pristine environment at risk.The Margaret River area is predominantly white owned. James Price Point is Stolen Aboriginal Land,currently contested in a Native Title Claim.If the relative ownership demographic is coincidental,then what exactly does Barnett base this selective logic on?
All discussions of aboriginal future must start with aboriginal equity parity.
Aboriginal Communities have borne the brunt of cynically oppressive government strategies since federation. The current crop of State,Federal and Territory governments and main opposition parties have clearly demonstrated their intent to continue their repressive agenda of assimilation, cultural contamination and resource theft.
Recently in the Northern Territory an aboriginal government minister came to the realisation that conventional politics holds no solutions for aboriginal people.She is right.For as long as we continue to engage with colonists, whose aim is to convince us how right they are(and how wrong we are) we participate in the genocide of ourselves, our people and the places and species over which we have guardianship.
I've spent the last few weeks working closely with Sydney Homeless on some projects of mutual interest.Of course, we both work on the resolution of marginalisation issues. While I will be the first to say that aboriginal and Torres Strait people are not the only marginalised communities in Australia, it world be hard to find marginalisation so endemically entrenched and systemically applied, now over many generations.
Entire State and Federal government departments (and a bevy of contractors) exist to provide "aboriginal" services.They are services which are a priority in the white community-not a priority for us. While Government departments tell and the mainstream media gleefully regurgitate that we need to take ownership of what whites see as our major problems,we cannot and should not take ownership without control,or control without capital equity. The reality is that we don't have equity because these colonists came and stole it,and despite apologies and rhetoric refuse to offer meaningful compensation or give the resources back.If the Federal Government supported efforts of WA neocon Barnett are a fair example, in fact they fully intend to go right on stealing
It comes as no surprise that NAPLAN tests show aboriginal children still falling behind in the one-way, racist street called education. The learning, cultural delivery aspects are 100% european, rebadged as "Australian in the same way North American sourced General Motors Products were rebadged as "Holden". Aboriginal children parents and communities are culturally and personally insulted on a daily basis by a foreign education system which daily dimishes and devalues our culture. While English and UK history are taught from the bosom of their culture, as juxtaposed carelessly across our country, the closest to any of our cultures "taught" is "aboriginal studies", in a hostile anglophile environment, under the control of, and with subject matter ultimately determined by, yes,ultimately, our oppressors, the neo-colonist governments who as queens in the mould of Marie Antoinette (excepting as elections draw near) rule over us. So what exactly, is this "aboriginal culture" they teach? A mish-mash conjectured by eminent professorial scholars as being representative of the 710 distinctly different languages and cultures which make up the rich tapestry of our collective peoples. A mish-mash which brings an air of self satisfaction,perhaps, to the uninitiated,to the tokenist - yet remains irrelevant to the majority of aboriginal people. Our cultures languages and places are intrinsically inseparable, and any attempt to teach one in isolation from the rest, or the rest in isolation from one, will not, and should not, succeed. Each tribal group must have the liberty to develop and nurture their own culture, in a manner completely under their control, as they see fit.Only finance is required to reknit the shredded torn fabric of our cultures,places and peoples.These learning places should be at the exclusive determination of the aboriginal peoples uncontaminated by colonist education-including myself.These structures should not and must not be subjected to controls of any external powers- That was the inevitable failing of the ATSIC model, and will be a key failing of the intervention.
Whose aboriginal culture,exactly,do these arrogant people teach? Theirs?Certainly not mine.
The proposition that aboriginal communities should have autonomy for the reperpetuation of our cultures, for our own as well as non-aboriginal peoples educational benefit ,would deliver educational parity- they teach their culture values et. al.They teach in their learning environment of choice, and we teach ours. They set their measures of success,and we set ours. This would afford our young people the comfort of a friendly learning environment, our elders the dignity of having their culture and learning gain parity of respect. This will incentivise our youth and communities to have the respect for our culture and learning which is theirs to carry forward. It is well known that the socio-economic status of aboriginal culture in the context of the wider Australian education system is negligible- disregarded, a mere tourist novelty.To change this aboriginal culture and education must have cultural parity.
As to our children's participation in, acceptance in and acceptance of the White education system - in its current form our extinction is arguably the cynical colonist plan today,and certainly the inevitable result. I would find it inconceivable that an aboriginal raised parent could truthfully give their child confidence in any aspect of any Australian educational vehicle, private public or otherwise. Australian education is so systemically monocultural and racist, so alien in its values and aims, that only aboriginals who have been "whitened on the inside" will support it.
West Australia Premier Colin Barnett has started procedures in State Parliament to sieze land from the Kimberley Land Council .The land is desired by a group of multinational extractive companies with interests in proposed multibillion dollar offshore Gas Fields. This consortium comprising some of the biggest and most controversial names in Oil and Gas Extraction internationally would like to use the land to facilitate the onshore processing of gas for Statewide and export distribution.
The moderate Kimberley Land Council has previously signed a heads of agreement with the Gas Field Consortium and Western Australian government but this has been challenged by a progressive Aboriginal traditional lawmaker who disputes the KLCs right to control of the desired Gas Hub location,known as James Price Point. That legal challenge has been dismissed by the courts, nevertheless,Premier Barnett insists on pursuing his land confiscation "in the interests of giving Woodside certainty and providing aboriginals with "jobs".
Premier Barnett's contention is just the latest in the European colonial process of simply grabbing whatever they wish to take and paying or not what they wish as they please. The Premiers declaration that he wishes to provide Woodside with certainty presents the notion that Woodsides (and the consortium it represents) interests should have priority over any other.Or in broader terms that international capitals interests are of greater concern than local peoples and in particular local aboriginal people.Woodside or its consortium partners do not have any current interests in or association with the area. The Aboriginal claimants to the land have proven one of the longest continuous associations with and connections to land by any people anywhere in the world.The Kimberley Land Council position, as I believe is its duty,is to leverage the best possible opportunity it can for the whole its constituency as quantified by that community.
Premier Barnetts rationale-he ran out of patience- is really a shotgun to the heads of the local aboriginal community bullying them to accept such scraps as the Woodside Consortium and State Government might deign to throw their way in the form of short term "jobs". Premier Barnett cannot wait for proper scientific analysis of the undeniable environmental impact of the Gas Hub to be available and appropriately digested by the community prior to the parties entering into a binding agreement. Aside from the areas concern to preserve its world renowned eco-tourism based on pristine marine ecology, there are the local Cobia and Whale breeding grounds. The gas hub will almost certainly bring more shipping to the area and navigational sonar and radar common to modern shipping has a negative impact on marine life navigational capabilities. There is also a nebulous grey area relating to the mining "camp", said to be planned to house 5000 people, and its impact on the wider community as well as the much more local aboriginal communities. There is no clearly defined available surplus natural resource of potable water,leaving aside consideration of the massive call for this scarce commodity for industrial use. This aspect is a concern of the Civic authorities in nearby Broome, who are demanding that workers be subjected to prison like constraints on their liberties in their recreational time in a "closed camp" model. Unions representing minesite workers are understandably hostile to such a proposal.
The local aboriginal communities whose custodianship has had a lot to do with the current pristine state of the precarious ecology have due cause to express their concern.This project marks another step in the genocide of their culture.Land which is theirs will pass perhaps irreversibly to the short sighted hands of people who live in Ivory Towers in most cases in other countries.People whose actual interest in the proposed James Price Gas Hub is driven by a few lines representing dollars on an excel sheet. Whether that concern is articulated and settled by The Kimberley Land Council or another group is not the issue. The issue is that any progression of a project which could have such a profound impact on the local indigenous way of life should only progress with the informed consent of the community.
The Kimberley Land Councils position is by no means radical or even very progressive.They are content to see indigenous jobs flow from the project,with few other non housekeeping terms.They do not seek to share in ownership of the project as I would be advocating if my community was pro development.They do not seek leading edge environmental measures.They merely want the concerns and future of their community to be a significant factor. Isn't that fair?
Couched in the flowery language of colonialism Premier Colin Barnett's words and actions really say "Nigger,you have the right to do as you're told". To a chorus of applause from Woodside, BHP, BP and Chevron,those international masters of indigenous and environmental exploitation.
The Northern Territory's banned drinker register is a highly suspect legislation in a jurisdiction noted for its police racism. The law will be applied by a police force which is overwhelmingly white in makeup.Like all Australian police forces, even the few ethnic and fewer aboriginals in police uniforms have had much of their ethnicity edited out of their mindset by the mono-cultural anglo centric training regime common to all State Police Academies.In a Territory noted for its comparatively high aboriginal population with widespread and justified abhorrence of police, there is little doubt that these laws are a cynical state tailored tool of systemic racism.
Not only will this experiment fail-it will also drive prostitution and drug use higher. The law will be deceptively easy to circumvent via numerous routes.There will be those affected who simply give their money to someone else to buy alcohol.Their will be those who resort to prostitution to offset the higher cost of purchasing "sly grog." There will be those who simply turn to pot, or other recreational drugs,as a cheaper option.
There will be an increase in consumption of homebrew products and kava sellers will be ecstatic at the sudden increase in demand for their wares.Sly Grogging will boom.The failed US Prohibition should have taught the entire western world that prohibition only lasts a very short period of time,bringing with it the attendant waiters servants and maitres'd in the smorgasbord of high risk,high profit illicit enterprise.
Flowing from these laws, the Territory can thank its out-of-touch bureaucrats and legislators for providing the trojan horse which organised crime will ride into their region. Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory will be at the vanguard of the imposition of draconian laws. The only aboriginal people in the territory I'm aware of who support this type of legislation are paid government servants or contractors.
For aboriginal people the answer lies not in the imposition of penalties on people who are the victims of wilful government policy failures, but in empowering those victims to work for something which they can readily recognise as personally, familially and community empowering. That inevitably means regaining equity and political control of their own destiny-NOT having outsiders whose presence has had as negative an impact as an aids epidemic dictate their future.