Monday, 27 October 2008

Message from Gumatj clan nation - MataMata Homeland, NE Arnhem Land.

"There is a new wave of attacks on remote Indigenous communities. The government is set to close down most remote schools. Because cdep and welfare are linked to school attendance this is a retraction of any government support from these communities.

Schools will no longer teach in the local Indigenous languages either. English only.

They are also proposing to stop all funding to small remote communities, called Homelands or Outstations. These communities - like that we live in here at MataMata - is the cultural source of identity, pride and indigenous religion and law. These are sacred Homelands that the people WILL NOT leave.

There are also ominous signs the government wants to change the land tenure in these communally held estates (free hold title under the Land Rights Act).

These, among many other measures suggest the government seeks to move remote community people into larger centres. This is exactly as Vanstone suggested, but with more subtle rhetoric.

It may seem crude, but what would the response be if the government proposed to shut down all schools in white communities? If they proposed to shut down all service provision to white communities? If they started unilaterally CHANGING LEGAL LAND TENURE LEGISLATION in white communities?

People out here on the Homelands are both saddened and angry. However, they are defiant, that no matter what the government does, they will not leave their sacred lands and their law. The government will be condemning them to a life of EXTREME poverty. Is this 'closing the gap'? Is this 'reconciliation'?

They call this a representative democracy. What a joke - what representation do my family have out here? What say do they have in deciding on legislation that directly effects them and their children and their property?

For more info, check out these government discussion papers on the proposed legislation and here

The two policies have to be read as working together - that is where the more sinister policy proposals lie.

Also, it is worth looking at the proposed changes to education in remote Indigenous communities, and the government's latest response to the review of the NT Intervention.

For a great response to the government policy on CDEP and 'increasing employment', check out Frances Morphy's paper:

This gives a clear indication of some of the possible cultural effects of the new wave of Government attacks.

The more people that are informed and active on this issue the better.

Please talk to people about this down south! It is really so urgent I
can't stress it enough!

In solidarity,

Gumatj clan nation, MataMata Homeland, NE Arnhem Land.

No comments: