Australian news, and some related international items

Adnyamathanha tribal elder, Ken McKenzie, rejects pressure to agree to nuclear waste dumping at Wallerberdina

 Enice Marsh, left, and Regina McKenzie at Yappala in the northern Flinders
My name is Ken McKenzie. I am seventy nine years old . I am a traditional Adnyamathanha tribal elder.
My mother was one of the stolen generation. She married my father who was a Wilyaru man . I come from a very large aboriginal family of fourteen brothers and sisters. I went to school at Blinman area school and spent most of my life working and living in and around the Flinders Ranges. I am now a senior resident of the Flinders House nursing home in Quorn. All thru my younger years I was taught my traditional heritage and my connection to the land. This was all done around the Wallerberdina area where my forefathers lived and hunted and are buried there .
I was told in early 2016 that the government wanted to put a radioactive waste dump on this land at Wallerberdina. This is causing me great sadness and distress. I have tried many times to make my voice heard about my protest against the dump, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The government keep saying you can’t stop the process. Well this process is causing huge distress to my people. It is causing anger and bitterness in my own family and it is splitting us apart. Is that what the government wants, to drag out this process for so long that they think they will wear us down?

I love Australia and I love the Flinders Ranges .

Even in my own room at Flinders House, at 2 o’clock in the morning, I have received phone calls telling me I’d better change my mind or else face tribal retribution. Because of my traditional ties to this land, these phone calls frightened me terribly. I am not a violent person. I’ve also had phone calls through the day saying huge benefits ie house, property could come my way if I was to say yes and encourage my people to also say yes to the dump.

Through all of this process over the last two years the government finally, in January of this year, 2018, employed a company who did a site cultural survey on Wallerberdina Station. This group of people desecrated one of our women’s traditional sites. Once again the terrible anguish that is being put on the people to see what has happened, is something that I never dreamed would be happening to my family and friends both black and white.

 I cannot understand why so many people have tried to tell the government, so many times over the last two years that Wallerberdina Station is not the area to put a waste dump, that they will not listen. They say they are, but they are not. We keep being told the dump may not be put on Wallerberdina Station if the community does not want it, but this has changed again as Mr Canavan said this will not necessarily be the deciding factor on his decision.

May 6, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia

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