thekooriwoman

Gomeroi. This is MY truth.

Archive for the category “Colonialism”

Oh it’s so shocking blah blah

Why are people shocked that Aboriginal kids die 5.2 times more than their non Aboriginal counterparts?

Most will live in substandard housing, be the object of racism, have one or both parents self-medicating via alcohol or other drugs, leading to vicious addictions, maybe a parent in jail, at least an uncle, cousin or Aunt.

They look around and see no way out of this life. So why bother.

Again I ask why are people shocked? You’ve seen First Contact, Utopia, why are you shocked? You’ve seen the 30 people in one house, you’ve seen the harsh reality of living in the far outback, so I’ll ask again, why are you shocked?

Some of these places don’t even have running water. Oh how shocking! But what can I do, you ask yourself, sitting and reading this piece.

You march. You rally. You organise a down tools for a half hour every day at 11am until the Prime Ministers Cabinet finally fixes at least housing and water in communities. Until they commit to Community Development and Education Programs that were working until they were cut for no reason. Programs that gave people pride and hope for their communities.

You stand up for decent and proper medical and mental health services in every community. You stand up for all the things you take for granted that People living in these communities will never have.

That’s what you do. Because if you don’t, that number is going to get worse. And you’ll pretend to be shocked, but deep down you know you’re not. Not really.

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Treaty Now

I read a spectacular article today; about the growing grassroots Aboriginal movement in this country, but something struck me as odd. I disagree with Michael Mansell. This is a shock to me, I usually find his and my own views align significantly on many different issues. This doesn’t mean I no longer respect and admire him of course, but it does illustrate perfectly that not all of us Aboriginals agree on everything, even those of us who sit on the same side of the fence.

The article I am talking about is titled “We Need Aboriginal Sovereignty Not Constitutional Recognition” by Paul Gregoire, and can be found here http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/we-need-aboriginal-sovereignty-not-constitutional-recognition and I couldn’t agree more. In fact I have even designed a Tshirt that tells anyone who looks at it what I think of constitutional recognition. But I’m not here to push my deadly Tshirt. I’m here to weigh in on the questions bought up by the article above.

Australia is the only British colonised country without a treaty. I had a very long conversation with a journalist recently who asked me what a treaty would look like in practical terms. When I told him we were the only country without any recognisable treaty, he was visibly shocked, he didn’t believe me, I told him to google it sometime.

My response about what a treaty would look like is an elected spokesperson from each nation representing our interests in all matters that would take place upon our lands. A forced engagement of government and our own democratically elected spokesperson, not just lip service payed to a few paid representatives of mob. You will notice I do not use the term leader. I do not believe Aboriginal people have ‘leaders’ in the way mainstream society uses the term. Right here where I live there is an Elders Group that has no leader. They are a group that meets and votes on a variety of different things, and have a good old gossip while they’re at it (I’ve been to a few meetings to ask about this or that. I’ve heard ‘em).

And I feel I’m getting too long in the tooth myself, and am too far removed from where the action takes place regarding Aboriginal Rights. If I had more money I’d certainly attend any event that deals with matters of rights, treaties and recognition.

But I take heart in the young ones who are coming up in the ranks, the likes of Callum Clayton-Dixon and Bo Spearim. Creators of WAR, Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance, and the publishers of Brisbane Blacks. My sorrow in hearing that Brisbane Blacks will no longer be published was strong. I have every copy and have read them all from cover to cover, and I loved passing them onto my sons. Many a dinner argument and discussion was created by this magnificent publication.

Speaking of Callum and Bo, they have already been labelled as ‘agitators’ for their assertion of sovereign rights in leaving and coming back to the country using Aboriginal passports, and also for their never waning energy in organising G20 Summit marches. They are in excellent company though, with both Malcolm X and Dr Martin Luther King also being labelled as agitators. My thinking is, they must be doing something right!

I’m leaving this post short tonight (my apologies) but today was a scorcher, this house has no air conditioning, but it has a heater installed, go figure. It also seems to hold the heat in, like an oven. And I am absolutely exhausted. Night has fallen so I better get my chores done while it’s a little cooler. Tomorrows post will be doubly long to make up for it.

Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott

This is a piece I wrote for The Shake on Tony Abbott, and his infantilisation of Aboriginals. It was fun to write, and very generous of The Shake to publish it!

On Reconciliation

On Reconciliation

This is a piece I guest blogged for The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law during Reconciliation Week 2013. ‘The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law seeks to promote and protect human rights through the generation and dissemination of public scholarship in international and domestic human rights law’ – from their website. I have become a regular reader of their blog and have a great deal of respect for all they do and promote.

“Get Over It” On Colonialism.

The response ‘get over it’ I find, is a response given to many peoples various issues, issues most often centered around personal experiences, or empathy with others experiences. I have seen the term used in response to the Holocaust, depression, rape, wars, racism, sexism and lack of services among many other things.

I was told to get over it regarding colonialism and the impact it has created on the Aboriginal population of Australia.

My response to get over it? I am trying, everyday I try. And everyday I open my news browser, read my twitter feed, talk to colleagues and friends, and everyday I see the effects of colonialism being played out in large, small and micro ways. And everyday I am reminded that colonialism is not over.

So the short answer?

No.

I cannot get over it.

The long answer?

What started as a rather innocuous question I asked Dr Dennis Jensen – Why did you boycott parliament the day that then PM Kevin Rudd gave his, what will surely become historical, apology to the Stolen Generation?

I wont go into details, as these stories are not mine to tell, but I will say this. To deny the Stolen Generation did not happen, that these people do not exist, through some ridiculous legal posturing, is a slap in the face to every. Single. Aboriginal. Person who is living with the repercussions of having their family torn apart by a government who apologists will say were only doing what they thought was right at the time.

Dr Jensen then went on to tell me to ‘Get Over it’. To which I replied, Do I just snap my fingers and forget 213 years of oppression?

He then went on to ask me if I am in fact 213 years old, and then told me to Work out ways to maximise my own life experiences, as I can’t for deceased ancestors.

So in reply to your claim colonialism was 213 years ago Dr Jensen, I disagree, I disagree with a heart that is sore from watching and still feeling the effects of colonialism today.

I am watching in despair as a second round of what to me, and many other Aboriginals is the beginnings of another Stolen Generation in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales through the Intervention and Stronger Futures Acts.

It seems to me Dr jensen, colonialism is as alive today as it was 213 ago.

So as an Aboriginal woman, one of many I might add, what exactly am I supposed to do to get over colonialism and pretend like it never happened?

Do I turn my cheek on my black sisters who are getting their children removed from their care, for the simple reason they live in an area where there are no jobs and a Govt payment doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of clothing, feeding and sending 1 child to school everyday, let alone 7?

Do I ignore the fact that the reasons my Sisters and Brothers cant get jobs is because of the colour of their skin? The fact they have children, because they have obligations to other family members, be it Aunts, Uncles or Grandparents, and even Great Great Grandparents?

The lack of flexibility in your workforce is not my problem, but it is the problem in many cases. But some employers refuse to see this. They will still insist on 9-5. And in this day and age, 9-5 is the death knell for many workers. Black and white.

I asked a very good friend of mine to critique what I have written. He advised me to link to Dennis Jensens comments, what the mainstream media had to say in reply to those very stupid remarks from that very stupid man. I decided, probably stupidly, that my words alone would stand on their own in refuting his ridiculous remarks about colonialism.

The only people that think colonialism is over, are the people that are benefiting from it.

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