How Aborigines could solve Australia’s bushfire problem, BBC News, By Jim Carey 1 March 14, Strong winds and soaring temperatures have led to dozens of bushfires in southern Australia. Could Aboriginal “gardening” techniques be used to control them in future? ”…..Having lived and evolved on the continent for millennia, Aborigines managed the land almost like a garden – effectively using expertly controlled fires to keep the flora in check.
The resulting grasslands not only attracted animals which the Aborigines could hunt, they also provided massive firebreaks preventing the kind of destructive fires Australia is increasingly suffering.
When the Europeans arrived they kicked the gardeners out of the garden. And the garden went wild…….
It is too late to reverse the clock back to 1788,” says Prof Gammage. “But the kind of damage we are looking at today could be lessened if we employed Aborigines to do something they spent tens of thousands of years perfecting.”….http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26174177
Utopia: An Aboriginal perspective, Black Feminist Blogspot, BY TRACKER, JANUARY 7, 2014 Award winning investigative journalist John Pilger’s new film Utopia will be a powerful weapon to raise awareness about Aboriginal Australia, according to Arrente writer Celeste Liddle*. On flicking through the UK reviews of John Pilger’s new documentary film “Utopia”, one thing quickly becomes apparent: Pilger has created a hard-hitting film that is of extraordinary importance.
Mungo Man is a physical reminder of the need for Indigenous recognition Forty years on from the discovery of Mungo Man, what he represents is as pertinent now as ever, Guardian, 25 Feb 14 Jim Bowler ”………….Mungo Man has given us a rich insight into a dynamic and ancient world. He has delivered an exciting range of scientific firsts, played a significant role in the establishment of the Willandra Lakes as a world heritage area, and, for many Indigenous people, his status has given a sense of pride to the very notion of being Aboriginal. As one of the two foundational burials, with Mungo Lady, he exemplifies Aboriginal Australia’s proudest traditions of antiquity and cultural development on the international stage…….
In emerging from that grave Mungo Man continues to challenge ignorance and prejudice. Such status takes on further legitimacy in the light of his liturgical burial. That action of ceremonial anointing with the earth, the ochre drama, defines new levels of communal self-perception, an awareness and celebration of a people-nature mystique, an acknowledgement of a power beyond. In that sense the burial stands arguably as the world’s oldest example of overt religious expression.
In my pursuit of rational science, those lakeshore sands, originally solely of geological interest, have been transformed into sacred grounds. My eyes have been opened to glimpse and share in some small way that inner view long entrusted to Mungo Man’s Aboriginal descendants, a deep connection to country, to their ancestral spirit-charged lands. I remain ever conscious of Mutthi Mutthi elder Mary Pappin’s admonition: “You did not find Mungo Lady and Mungo Man – they found you!”
Already taking his place in the school curriculum as a key focus in Aboriginal history, Mungo Man’s place as messenger stands in firm justification for national recognition. While Aboriginal Australia must speak in its own voice, as a scientist with a sense of humanity already much deepened by Mungo Man’s contribution, I confidently hope that what has been changed in me will be shared in the lives of many others.
The return opens a new chapter, one in which the voices from the past – the voices from those graves – return in spirit with the bones. My burden remains to speak to and for those voices, to interpret their meaning and to deliver in their death the messages they may have voiced in life.
Mungo Man crosses many boundaries, boundaries between science and traditional cultures, between past and present, between black and white, between life and death. On returning home, his voice takes on new urgency, defining messages for his land and for his people. That occasion, after 40 years in waiting, brings new hope, a reassurance to Indigenous Australians of the nation’s debt to their ancestral history……..http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/mungo-man-physical-reminder-need-for-indigenous-recognition
Aboriginal News Aboriginal Way – National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) Lateral Love NIRS NEWS STORIES 05 FEBRUARY 2014 A number of Brisbane activists have formed a group to push for and further discussions on treaties, land rights and sovereignty.
Nganyaywana man Callum Clayton-Dixon is a co-founder of the collective and says treaties must be a grass-roots movement and not be administered by government bodies.
Mr. Clayton-Dixon says he welcomes Nigel Scullion and Warren Mundine’s recent interest in treaty talks and wants to bring the discussion into communities.
Desmond Tayley is speaking for his traditional land in the Laura area, a cultural site with world-renowned rock art that is also a major tourist attraction.
Mr. Tayley says there has been no feedback by the Government and world heritage status would not just protect the site from mining……http://lateralloveaustralia.com/2014/02/05/aboriginal-news-aboriginal-way-national-indigenous-radio-service-nirs-19/
The story of Mabo, SMH January 31, 2014 Colleen Keane Before 1967, Aboriginal people in Australia – the first Australians – were not included in the national census. The referendum altered their status in the constitution, but afterwards it no longer contained any reference to indigenous people. The doctrine of terra nullius also meant that Aboriginal people were not recognised as traditional owners of their land. Continue reading
Most people just want a day to celebrate the place that they call home, to be part of a community, and to guide Australia into the future. I am one of these people, so why can’t we celebrate this on a day that includes all Australians? Surely there must be another historically significant date that can be trumped up to include every person in this country. But ignorance is bliss, right?
Australia Day is a time for mourning, not celebration, The Guardian 26 Jan 14 The refusal to celebrate Australia Day is part of an ongoing fight for the recognition of the abuse of Indigenous people’s rights. If we give up on protesting, we might soon no longer remember the past Nakkiah Lui
This is why, for us, Australia Day is a day of mourning. It is not a day to go over to my friends’ to sit in a blow up pool and get drunk, and it’s definitely not a day to wear red, white and blue while waving a flag with a Union Jack and a Southern Cross on it. Continue reading
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Exhibition dates: Wed 22 January to Sat 1 February 2014 View the artworks http://damienmintongallery.com.au/artists/asio-through-the-looking-glass
Australia spy photos: Australia stalked Aboriginal activists ’Persons of Interest’ Australia stalked Aboriginals By Brenda Norrel Censored News, 23 Jan 14, Australian Aboriginals were secretly photographed under surveillance by the government of Australia. Now, the spy photos of Aboriginal land rights activists, authors, playrights and artists are the subject of a photo exhibit.
“The 70 photos of people such as author Frank Hardy, Aboriginal activists Eddie Mabo and Gary Foley, film critic David Stratton and actor Bob Maza, among a range of Australians who went on to become prominent in public life,” Business Insider reports.
The director of the documentary series, Haydn Keenan, said the photos are “… images with no author, created by the State, of those who threatened it. They are secret political images, stolen to gain power over the subject. Here is a machine aesthetic. No artful frame or composition proposed, but uncannily appears.”
The gallery said the photographs were created as documents and records of surveillance by secret ASIO operatives going about their work monitoring the activities and meetings of people who the state considered to be ‘a person of interest’……(PHOTOS below in the original article) http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/australia-spy-photos-australia-stalked.html
‘Dreamtime’ and ‘The Dreaming’ – an introduction The Conversation, Christine Nicholls Senior Lecturer at Flinders University 23 January 2014, In 2002, Jeannie Herbert Nungarrayi, formerly a Warlpiri teacher at the Lajamanu School in the Tanami Desert of the Northern Territory, where I worked for many years first as a linguist and then as school principal, explained the central Warlpiri concept of the Jukurrpa in the following terms:
To get an insight into us – [the Warlpiri people of the Tanami Desert] – it is necessary to understand something about our major religious belief, the Jukurrpa. The Jukurrpa is an all-embracing concept that provides rules for living, a moral code, as well as rules for interacting with the natural environment.
The philosophy behind it is holistic – the Jukurrpa provides for a total, integrated way of life. It is important to understand that, for Warlpiri and other Aboriginal people living in remote Aboriginal settlements, The Dreaming isn’t something that has been consigned to the past but is a lived daily reality. We, the Warlpiri people, believe in the Jukurrpa to this day.
In this succinct statement Nungarrayi touched on the subtlety, complexity and all-encompassing, non-finite nature of the Jukurrpa.
The concept is mostly known in grossly inadequate English translation as “The Dreamtime” or “The Dreaming”. The Jukurrpa can be mapped onto micro-environments in specific tracts of land that Aboriginal people call “country”.
As a religion grounded in the land itself, it incorporates creation and other land-based narratives, social processes including kinship regulations, morality and ethics. This complex concept informs people’s economic, cognitive, affective and spiritual lives…….. Continue reading
TPPA Environment Chapter & Chair’s Commentary Posted by WikiLeaks Issues for NZ 1Professor Jane Kelsey 16 January 2014 (NZDT) The consolidated draft text of the Environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific partnership Agreement and the accompanying chair’s commentary have been posted in Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro). The documents are dated 24 November 2013, the final day of the Salt Lake City round in November…..
The most egregious threat to the environment is the investment chapter, in particular the prior consent by all countries except Australia to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The vast majority of investment arbitrations under similar agreements involve natural resources, especially mining, and have resulted in billions of dollars of damages against governments for measures designed to protect the environment from harm caused by foreign corporations. The US is also demanding that contracts between investors and states that involve natural resources also have access to ISDS.
Chapters that may impact on environmental measures, with some examples, include:…..
Aborigines have never ceded sovereignty to the colonial invaders. There must be a treaty recognising prior ownership and all the legal, social and financial responsibilities that flow from that.
None of this will be won by petitions, or electing Aboriginal people to Parliament, or relying on Labor.
En Passant. John Passant 10 Jan 14 If Wikileaks and Edward Snowden teach us anything it is that our leaders lie. And lie. And lie.
Australia Day is no different. It is Invasion Day but we will never hear that truth. Bourgeois clichés about the lucky country (what irony!) and our great nation compete with bullshit about our brave soldiers overseas and how we all in this together.
It’s time for some truth about our genocidal and racist history. As George Orwell said telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Australia has a black history.
For 65000 years Aboriginal people lived here in harmony with themselves and the environment. Australia Day does not recognise that proud history and prior stewardship. It whitewashes this history by celebrating the arrival of a bunch of neocolonialists and their convicts and guards a mere 225 years ago. Continue reading
John Pilger’s damning new film about indigenous Australia SMH, Julian Drape, December 31, 2013 ”……London-based Pilger returns to outback Australia for this documentary film to find little has changed since his 1985 work The Secret Country.The Utopia of the title refers to the Northern Territory region north of Alice Springs…….
Pilger, 74, sees a treaty and genuine land rights as the key to improving the position of the original owners of Australia. Anything less, including the current talk of constitutional recognition, is simply a “distraction”, he says.
The film opened in the United Kingdom in mid-November and screens in Sydney on January 17. Subsequent limited dates include Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Alice Springs. Pilger would have been delighted to show Utopia in Australia first but no local distributor offered a cinema run.
“One Australian distributor refused to take the film because he said it was ‘too dark’ and ‘it might upset people with its myth-busting’,” the veteran journalist says.The film was commissioned by ITV in Britain and funded entirely in the UK…..
Pilger doesn’t apologise for taking such an uncompromising view.”Unlike the US, Canada and New Zealand, no treaty was ever negotiated between the lawful owners of Australia and those who took their land,” he says. “International law is clear – there has to be a treaty.
“If the Australian political establishment believes it can continue to look the other way and deny the first Australians their basic rights they are seriously mistaken.”……
Pilger reminds the viewer that Bob Hawke in the 1980s walked away from genuine land rights in the face of a racist scare campaign from the mining industry. He draws parallels with Julia Gillard’s decision to fold on Labor’s mining tax in 2010.
“The revenue lost is estimated at $60 billion,” the director says in the film. “Enough to fund land rights and to end Aboriginal poverty.”……
Child abuse is one of the rationales for taking children away, yet the NT has one of the lowest rates of reported child abuse in Australia, Pilger says. He argues Australians shouldn’t still need educating about the plight of indigenous Australia, but if they do he hopes Utopia helps.
“Utopia tells them the truth,” he says. ”If people choose to ignore the research and evidence in this film then their prejudice is unshakeable.”….. Utopia is on limited released in Australia from January 17. Details at utopiajohnpilger.co.uk http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/john-pilgers-damning-new-film-about-indigenous-australia-20131231-303tf.html#ixzz2povi3A9Z
Forget the Preamble, what Australia needs is a Treaty Woollydays, Derek Barry January 3, 2014 The new Coalition Government has been making noises on a referendum to change the constitution to recognise First Australians. The wording of the change has yet to be announced but Prime Minister Tony Abbott is saying the change would “complete our constitution rather than change it.”
What exactly Abbott means by completion rather than change is not clear from the article but I assume it means the change will have purely ornamental rather than legal force. According to his deputy Julie Bishop, the government wants to have a “deep discussion” with the Australian people before agreeing to the wording but here’s a free tip from me if the changes are purely for show: Forget it.
I say forget it, not because Australian constitutional referendums have a habit of failing, but because there are genuine things constitutional change could do to improve the situation of First Australians. The most profound change would be to turn the preamble into a Treaty, common enough in other settler countries, but the first ever in 225 years of European occupation of Australia. Unlike a flowery but pointless preamble, a treaty would genuinely acknowledge past failures and injustices and show sincere desire for a better future and more just relationship……. Continue reading
Forget the Preamble, what Australia needs is a Treaty Woollydays, Derek Barry January 3, 2014“………..A Treaty is a political document between sovereign people and it was this difficulty that saw John Howard reject the idea as far back as 1988 as an absurd proposition that “a nation should make a treaty with some of its own citizens.” Yet the idea is far from absurd to the many Indigenous people who see this as the first step in the recognition of the wars and dispossession of their country and the genocide that followed. It was Howard’s assimilatory ideas in the face of historical evidence that were blatantly contradictory and hence absurd. Howard’s culture of forgetting was shared by his later immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock who told ABC in October 1998 there couldn’t be a treaty because there never had been a war in this country.
Ruddock’s idea of war was flawed as was his view of a Treaty. A Treaty (also known by its Yolgnu name Makarrata meaning thigh) was long established as an appropriate way by which whites could acknowledge Aboriginal equality and prior ownership. In 1979 an Aboriginal treaty committee was formed by prominent whites almost all came from political and intellectual left. Then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser offered to discuss treaty conditions with Aborigines while 8 years later his successor Bob Hawke spoke of ‘a compact of understanding’. But this whitefella idea of a treaty was rejected by the Federation of Aboriginal Land Councils because of insufficient consultation with Aborigines, doubts of its significance and consequences and because it would legalise occupation and use of sovereign Aboriginal lands by the Australian settler state…… https://woollydays.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/forget-the-preamble-what-australia-needs-is-a-treaty/