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.