Sovereign Union - AudioBoom collection

Community closures: Thousands protest across Australia

Sovereign Audio Collection - Sat, 2015/03/21 - 2:04am
ABC RADIO (PM) -TRANSCRIPT DAVID MARK: Thousands of people have turned out at rallies and marches across Australia to mark Close the Gap Day. The national event aims to highlight the discrepancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians in life expectancy, employment and education. This year the focus has been on the idea flagged by the Western Australian Government and echoed by the Prime Minister to potentially close up to 150 remote Indigenous communities. The Premier Colin Barnett came face to face with protesters during an intense and at times hostile rally in Perth. Lucy Martin was there. (Sound from protest rally) PROTESTER: If the Government continues to remove us from our lands, then this country is doomed - domestically, internationally and spiritually. Shame! LUCY MARTIN: From Broome to Bendigo, Melbourne to Geraldton, rallies were held in small country towns and major cities across Australia. (Sound from protest rally) PROTESTERS: Shame on you, shame on you, shame on you. LUCY MARTIN: The biggest was in Perth, where more than 1,000 people marched from the CBD to Parliament House, demanding an audience with the Premier Colin Barnett. (Sound from protest rally) PROTESTERS: Abbott, Barnett you go home. You're supporting genocide! PROTESTER 2: Who would have thought in 2015 we're up here protesting about being taken from our traditional lands? LUCY MARTIN: They're furious with the State Government's plans to close up to 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. TAMMY SOLONEC: On this Close the Gap Day we're saying to people let's close the gap, not the communities! PROTESTER 3: We want to live, we don't want to just struggle and survive! LUCY MARTIN: The Commonwealth is transferring responsibility for funding the settlements to the State Government which says it can't afford to keep them all open. The Premier Colin Barnett addressed the crowd on the steps of Parliament House. COLIN BARNETT: Can I say, can I say to you, no Aboriginal people will be forced from their lands, no Aboriginal people will be forced from their communities. (Sound of outcry and protesting from crowd) LUCY MARTIN: Mr Barnett was jeered and abused when he told protesters to put themselves in his shoes. COLIN BARNETT: My issue is, and it's your issue as much as it's mine - probably more yours than mine - is how can we ensure that boys and girls go to school? How can we ensure that they are safe? (Sound of outcry and protesting from crowd) How can we reduce alcohol and drug usage? (Sound of outcry and protesting from crowd) I would be failing you as the Premier of this state if I ignored those issues. PROTESTER 4: You're are failing us! COLIN BARNETT: You will not like me for that, but I will not resile from that. LUCY MARTIN: The Premier was ushered away by his security team after a protester lunged at him. Indigenous lawyer and Amnesty International campaigner Tammy Solonec also addressed the rally. TAMMY SOLONEC: Moving Aboriginal people from their homelands will be harder than making these communities sustainable and viable. It will cause intergenerational trauma. It will break connections to land and culture. LUCY MARTIN: Sandy Davies, who attended a rally in Geraldton, 400 kilometres north of Perth, says Aboriginal people have been left in the dark. SANDY DAVIES: What we really need Colin Barnett to do is to come out - because all he has said is he intends to close 150 communities. He hasn't actually come out and given us any explanation about how he's going to do it, where he's going to do it, and which regions. LUCY MARTIN: In Adelaide, hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of Parliament House. Thirteen communities in South Australia's remote APY lands (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara ) are also in limbo because of the Commonwealth's withdrawal of funds. Local elder Tauto Sansbury. TAUTO SANSBURY: You move them from their land, you commit cultural genocide. You're killing off their culture, their customs, their songs, their dance, their tradition. LUCY MARTIN: The State Government says it's pushing for the Commonwealth to reconsider. But Mr Sansbury says that's not good enough. TAUTO SANSBURY: I'd like to get a definite answer from Jay Weatherill and Kyam Maher to say no we're not going to close Aboriginal communities down and we'll find an alternative way of paying for municipal services. Because if you look at the mining industry and the royalties, money can come out of that and there's no need to do this and create what we're calling genocide, cultural genocide. LUCY MARTIN: While in Launceston, protester Trudy Maluga from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre had a clear message for the Prime Minister. TRUDY MALUGA: We're saying to the captain, as he has called himself previously, that your call on this is wrong. It is an infringement of human rights. It is getting talked about internationally and it's making Australia look shameful. DAVID MARK: That's Tasmanian protester Trudy Maluga ending Lucy Martin's report.

Warren Mundine pretends concern on homelands

Sovereign Audio Collection - Wed, 2015/03/18 - 10:36pm
Warren Mundine wants answers on Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding decisions Lindy Kerin reported this story on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 12:15:00 Listen to MP3 of this story ( minutes) | MP3 DOWNLOAD ELEANOR HALL: When the Prime Minister's chief adviser on Indigenous affairs meets Tony Abbott this afternoon, he says he'll have a few things to get off his chest. Warren Mundine says he wants a detailed briefing about recent funding decisions under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. He says he will also have a bit to say about the Prime Minister's comments that remote Indigenous communities are a "lifestyle choice". As the two meet today, more details are already emerging about the funding of Indigenous organisations. Lindy Kerin has our report. LINDY KERIN: Since the 1970s, the Bloodwood Tree Association in South Hedland in Western Australia's Pilbara region has run a crisis accommodation centre and drug and alcohol service. The association's CEO Bob Neville says he applied for funding under the Federal Government's new Indigenous Advancement Strategy back in September. BOB NEVILLE: We were advised by letter from the Minister that we were successful in our funding and then three hours later we were told, yes we were successful but out of $1.3 million over 2.5 years we applied for, we were successful for $208,000 and that the hostel would not be funded and we would have to close it. LINDY KERIN: Bob Neville says there is another hostel in the town, but that's currently full, and with average rentals being about $1,100 a week, his clients will have nowhere to go. He says the whole funding process has been frustrating. BOB NEVILLE: We're in remote area, we're some 2,000 kilometres out of Perth in the Pilbara and nobody has bothered to speak to us at all about the hostels program, nobody has bothered to speak to us about the substance abuse program, they've just come and said nup, not funding, close the doors, see ya later. If I could get a plane from here to Canberra, I think I'd be on that and I'd be going over there and talking to some of those senators because what they are doing is crucifying the Indigenous people here in the Pilbara. LINDY KERIN: The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples recently called out to its members and organisations to get a clearer picture of the Government's funding decisions. The Congress co-chair is Kirstie Parker KIRSTIE PARKER: A very small number of them have indicated that they've received partial funding, most of them have said they've received no funding whatsoever. We said to them what would be the likely impact on your organisation and they've told us that projects and programs and some organisations will be crippled, if not unable to continue, so they will be unviable as at the 30th of June. This also means some essential services will cease in our communities, including services for women, for kids, educational initiatives, legal services and jobs, so in effect, there will be an obliteration of a very large chunk of the Indigenous community landscape. LINDY KERIN: The Federal Government says 41 per cent of more than 2,000 organisations that applied for funding have been successful. The World Today has sought specific information, but we've been told the details of each grant will be listed on the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet website within 14 days of the agreement taking effect. Kirstie Parker says the new Indigenous Advancement Strategy has been a disaster. KIRSTIE PARKER: We are hearing very high levels of frustration with the process and of course people will be upset and distressed and unhappy if the decision is an outright no. Some are hanging in there because they've been told, look you're unsuccessful, but we'd like to talk to you about other opportunities. Many of the people that have been told, or the organisation that have been told they were successful, have actually received a mere fraction of what they applied for, in some cases just 5 or 10 per cent of what they sought. Many people are feeling insulted that they've been, this has been couched as successful, when in fact it is not an amount of money that would allow them to even take up the grant. LINDY KERIN: The chair of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council Warren Mundine is meeting with Prime Minister today and will be briefed about the funding decisions. WARREN MUNDINE: We're waiting for the briefing, we'd like to see that list be out there for everyone to see so it's all transparent. As I said from day one when you're going on a reform agenda, there are going to be people who are going to be happy and there's going to be people who's not going to be happy. Our main focus is on getting the reforms in that are going to close the gap over the next few years. LINDY KERIN: And if there are decisions that you're not happy with, what sort of course of action can you take? WARREN MUNDINE: Well, that's a hypothetical, I'll get to that when we have a look at those conversations. LINDY KERIN: The Prime Ministers' recent comments about taxpayers funding the lifestyle choices of some Indigenous people will also be on the agenda. Warren Mundine says he's still deeply disappointed and he'll be talking to Tony Abbott about getting the conversation about the viability of remote communities back on track. WARREN MUNDINE: Using the word "lifestyle choices" drowned out what his message was is regard to how do we handle remote communities and looking at economic development, looking at community safety, looking at a wide range of issues. And that's why I'm particularly, was frustrated and angry with the choice of words when we had a serious debate that we had to deal with. ELEANOR HALL: That's Warren Mundine, the chairman of the Indigenous Advisory Council, speaking to Lindy Kerin.

Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities

Sovereign Audio Collection - Mon, 2015/03/16 - 10:32am
Joining CAAMA radio is Mitch Torres from the Kimberley, Western Australia Remote Aboriginal Communities in Western Australia’s Kimberley region have announced a global call to action to stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities which are causing people to leave their homelands due to state and federal governments withdrawal of support of basic essential services. People all over Australia have been show their support for those that have been effected by the proposals to shut down 150 remote Aboriginal in Western Australia and Thursday the 19th of March across the nation will be celebrating close the gap day, yet for many people they feel the gap has significantly widened.

Nyoongar Refugee Camp holds its ground !

Sovereign Audio Collection - Thu, 2015/03/12 - 6:07am
Campers at the Nyoongar Tent Embassy on Perth’s Heirisson Island has been given until midday today (Thursday) to pack up and leave. Last week the Embassy declared the site a refuge for homeless people being displaced from their communities… but W.A. Today reports the City of Perth has arranged for welfare support agencies to visit the camp and offer support to homeless individuals. The paper reports the city is planning for the worst case scenario of forced eviction. Marianne McKay tells CAAMA the W.A. Government is breaking its own laws by forcibly removing her people from the island.

First Nations warfare in colonial Australia

Sovereign Audio Collection - Thu, 2015/03/12 - 5:36am
In his new book, The Story of Australia's People, Geoffrey Blainey writes that one of the reasons aboriginal tribes didn’t effectively resist European settlement was that they were militarily weak. Indigenous tribes often fought with each other rather than launch coordinated attacks against settlers. An alternative view comes from expert in indigenous history, Dr Ray Kerkhove, who has done new research on indigenous warfare in Queensland in the 19th century.

Jack Charles goes back to Prison in his new play

Sovereign Audio Collection - Thu, 2015/03/12 - 4:23am
Castlemaine State Festival: John Romeril and Jack Charles Radio National - Arts Today 12 March 2015 Going Through is a new production by playwright John Romeril, starring veteran actor; indigenous elder and activist, Uncle Jack Charles. - Based on a true story from Jack Charles' time as an inmate at 'Old Castlemaine Gaol,' it premieres at the Castlemaine State Festival on the grounds of the goal itself.

People to be displaced by homelands closures labelled 'refugees in own land'

Sovereign Audio Collection - Sat, 2015/03/07 - 10:22am
National Indigenous Radio 98.9fm - Warren Barnsley - The Noongar Tent Embassy in Perth say they want to bring International attention to the Western Australian Government's plans to defund remote communities. - The Embassy on Matagarup, or Heirisson Island, has set up a 'refugee camp' to take in displaced Indigenous peoples if communities are closed and people forced off their land. - Noongar advocate Marianne Mackay told 98.9fm shutting down First Nations homelands is a policy which harks back to early colonial days.

Renewal of justice system

Sovereign Audio Collection - Wed, 2015/03/04 - 11:20am
ABC Radio - Radio National - Late Night Live While our current criminal justice system is determined to treat everyone 'equally', it does not take into account often enough the disadvantages that may have led the offender to commit the crime in the first place. Russell Marks argues that it is important to ask some fundamental questions about punishment if the reduction of crime and a safer community to live in are the goals of the system.

Keeping First Nations people out of prison

Sovereign Audio Collection - Tue, 2015/03/03 - 10:48pm
ABC Radio National Law Report Addiction, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, loss of culture, a sense of hopelessness, mental health issues. How can we keep indigenous people with these sorts of complex needs out of prison? In our third part of a series the Law Report looks at programs that help keep people out of the criminal justice treadmill in the Kimberleys in Western Australia. Transcript

Noongar Embassy - Gary Jagamara message

Sovereign Audio Collection - Mon, 2015/03/02 - 11:09pm
Gerry Georgatos National Indigenous Radio 3 March 2015 The Nyungah Tent Embassy on Perth's Heirisson Island has been re-established. More than 70 Nyungahs gathered to rebuild the camp site which was demolished by police two years ago. A small delegation from the Embassy has informed police they've reclaimed the Embassy's grounds and also stated they'll use the site as a refuge for the homeless. It'll also be used a refugee camp for those displaced by the WA Government's closing down of remote communities. Guest speaker at the reopening, Gary Jagamara, warned of provocations by WA authorities opposed to the Embassy.

“They will not stop until we succumb to a 'White' lifestyle”

Sovereign Audio Collection - Fri, 2015/02/27 - 11:38pm
– Ray Jackson (CAAMA) 26 September, 2014 Social Services and the NSW Police force have been criticised after footage was supplied to Australia’s National Indigenous TV (NITV) showing officers dressed in riot gear, raiding a home to remove multiple children from one family. The President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Ray Jackson, joins CAAMA Radio broadcaster Mikaela Simpson on the line to talk more about this shocking event.

Meston's Wild Australia Show

Sovereign Audio Collection - Sat, 2015/02/21 - 6:48pm
ABC Radio National 'Arts Today' Michael Aird Guests: Photographic historian. Curator, Wild Australia: Meston's Wild Australia Show, University of Queensland Anthropology Museum Mandana Mapar and Photo media artist and curator, Wild Australia: Meston's Wild Australia Show, University of Queensland's Anthropology Museum In the 1890s a ‘troupe’ of Aboriginal people travelled Australia to perform a sort of Wild West Show, under the wing of charismatic journalist, politician and entrepreneur Archibald Meston. The venture failed, and Meston effectively abandoned the 27 performers in Melbourne, but not before the actors were photographed and their images sold as postcards. Aboriginal curator and photography specialist Michael Aird has been interested in these images for a long time, and with Mandana Mapar and researcher Paul Memmott has put together an exhibition that opens tomorrow at the University of Queensland's Anthropology Museum.

American Freedom Riders inspired Australians

Sovereign Audio Collection - Sat, 2015/02/21 - 4:09am
ABC RN Phillip Adams 'Late Night Live' Thursday 19 February 2015 - In 1961, young married couple Robert and Helen Singleton, joined the Freedom rides to protest against racial segregation in America's south. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that segregation on public buses and interstate transport, including at transit stops, was unconstitutional but southern states had ignored this ruling. As soon as they arrived in Jackson, Mississippi, Bob and Helen Singleton were arrested and incarcerated in the notorious Parchman Penitentiary, along with many other Freedom riders. Today, the Singletons say they are concerned about racial profiling and the use of force by police, as well as the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision blunting the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the civil rights movement’s most important victories. - Image: Freedom Riders, Robert and Helen Singleton (Source ABC RN/Alex McClintock)

Islanders shocked as Australia moves to ban kava

Sovereign Audio Collection - Fri, 2015/02/20 - 2:06pm
Pacific Islanders in Australia are angry over a federal government move to ban kava. Stefan Armbruster SBS World News 18 FEB 2015 - (Transcript from World News Radio) - Claims organised gangs of Pacific Islanders are smuggling kava into Northern Territory Aboriginal communities will see the federal government ban the traditional drink in Australia. - Existing import limits will be abolished, a move that has angered Pacific islanders. - The proposed ban comes as Australian aid funds the development of bottled kava drinks as an export industry in Fiji. - Stefan Armbruster reports - The drinking of kava is an ancient Pacific islander custom, now regularly practiced in Australia - (SFX of clapping) - The claps are a signal appreciation. - This kava club gathers regularly in Brisbane but soon these sessions could be illegal. - Federal Indigenous Affairs minister and Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion is on a mission. - "We accept people practising their culture in this country. Of course we do. But when it is perverted and redirected, and to harm our First Australians, it isn't a right, it's a privilege. But I'm an advocate unashamedly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. That's my job and I think it should be banned and I will continue pursuing it until it is banned." - A total ban on kava imports because of the actions of a few has shocked the tens of thousands of Pacific Islanders in Australia. - "It makes me angry, it makes me very, very angry." - Zane Yoshida is an Australian citizen from Fiji who regularly has kava sessions at his house and is the founder of Taki Mai, a company that makes bottled kava drinks. - "We definitely deserve to have kava as part of our traditional cultural practices, even in Australia. If anything, it has been a positive influence on the Fijian community. Even the youth in Australia, as an alternative to alcohol." - Kava is already illegal in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land because of the health, social and financial impacts. - NT police Detective Superintendant Tony Fuller of the Drug and Organised Crime Division has long worked in the remote communities. - "Basically what kava does is it compounds existing health and substance abuses issues in the communities, so what it does is it adds one more layer of problems to the community." - Two kilos of kava per person can legally be brought into Australia from Pacific Islands like Fiji. - "Generally it's brought into Australia by Pacific Island groups, and we're seeing what we call stockpiling in places like Sydney and Brisbane, and then the couriers will either bring it up by plane or mail it or sometimes they'll just drive it up." - NT police have seized about 10 tonnes since 2009 and made more than 200 arrests. - "The vast majority of offenders who bring it into the Northern Territory are Tongan, of Tongan descent. There are obviously some Tongans out there who don't abuse it. That said we have a significant amount of Aboriginal people we are arresting." - Penalties include prison terms of up to eight years for quantities over 25 kilograms. - Kava costs about $30 a kilo overseas, once in Arnhem Land it sells for about $1000. - Senator Nigel Scullion says kava smuggling is big business. - "There's been I think over seventeen busts over 100 kilo and one of the things this signifies is that this is a organised criminal activity. The size of the busts, the sophistication of communication, this is significant organised criminal activity and with significant organised crime comes other activities. People say, 'We are drinking kava today, but we have a suite of drugs for you'. " - Kava has a distinctive taste. - It comes from the root of a pepper tree, and has a relaxing and slightly numbing effect. - Pacific islanders enjoy sharing kava, much like a cup of tea or coffee in other cultures, but it is drunk in much larger quantities for the effect. - It was introduced to the Northern Territory in the 1980s by Pacific islander missionaries as an alternative to alcohol. - After initial successes it was soon abused, then restricted and finally banned with the imposition of the 2006 NT intervention. - "We understand that in a very naive community like Arnhem Land, this is why it is doing the damage, because it is drunk in vast quantities and not in a cultural sense at all." - Kava is not widely used in Aboriginal communities outside north-west Arnhem Land. - While the federal government wants to ban it at home, Australian overseas aid has funded kava production in Fiji as a health supplement for export. - Zane Yoshida's company Taki Mai has received tens of thousands of dollars of Australian international aid funds develop its product in Fiji. - "I've developed a kava supplement that I currently sell in the United States and Fiji through the natural food channels and this produce here is a kava supplement for taking the edge of, for relaxing, and as we progress with clinical trials here in Australia, we'd like to make structure function claims for relieving stress and anxiety." - Their product was launched by the Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in July last year. - "The head of the Australian High Commission, members of the community, distinguished guests, my fellow Fijian. Bula vinaka, I'm delighted to be with you this morning to officially to launch Taki Mai. A supplement drink that feature Fijian grown kava. I take this opportunity to thank the Australian government for the support of this project." - Kava is legal in the United States and the European Union last year drop its ban, saying it could not substantial health concerns. - Zane Yoshida says the federal government has got it wrong. - "The key word for this is education, if we can put together programs to educate people about alcohol abuse and drug abuse, why can't were do the same for kava." - No date has been set for when kava imports will be banned and the Senator Scullion promises to speak to Pacific islander communities first.

Australia's indigenous affairs minister set on outright kava ban

Sovereign Audio Collection - Fri, 2015/02/20 - 1:57pm
Radio Australia - 20 February 2015 - Claims that organised gangs of Pacific islanders are smuggling kava into Aboriginal communities in Australia's Northern Territory could see the traditional Pacific island drink banned. - Australia's indigenous affairs minister set on outright kava ban (Credit: ABC) Federal Indigenous Affairs minister and Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion says Australia accepts people practising their culture, but when it is perverted, redirected, and harms First Australians, it isn't a right, it's a privilege. - He says in order to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, kava should be banned and he will continue pursuing it until it is banned. - Anthropologist Kirk Huffman says the government is going about this in entirely the wrong way. - Presenter: Bruce Hill - Speaker: Kirk Huffman, anthropologist and honorary curator of the Vanuatu Museum

Please Bring My Son Home

Sovereign Audio Collection - Fri, 2015/02/20 - 12:57pm
Aboriginal woman, Beverley Moore Whyman from Mildura is pleading to the Australian government for her son to be returned home from a US Prison. Beverley's son Russell Moore was taken from her at birth, and she has been fighting for her son to be returned home ever since. - Russell was adopted by a missionary couple and renamed James Hudson Savage. He was then taken to America by his adoptive parents when he was 6 years old. In 1989, James Hudson Savage was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in the Electric Chair. It was during the appeal that it was revealed that Russell Moore was part of Australia's Stolen Generation of Aboriginal people. - Beverley says her son has been forgotten and left to fend for himself in a state prison in Florida, USA. The federal government has never contacted her to talk about his release. Suffering from chronic health programs, Beverley wants her son to come back home to Australian, and she is afraid she will die before he is released. Source: SBS Living Black

Robbie Thorpe - Invasion Day Melbourne 2015

Sovereign Audio Collection - Fri, 2015/02/20 - 7:14am
Aboriginal activist Robbie Thorpe talks about the Invasion Day rally and his thoughts on Invasion Day and his pride in the younger generation stepping up to the challenge of fighting for the rights of first nations people. (Source: SBS Living Black)

Moree remembers Freedom Ride race riot fifty years on

Sovereign Audio Collection - Fri, 2015/02/20 - 6:59am
Lindy Kerin reports for ABC/AM 20 February 2015 - Image: Zona Moore was 14 when the Freedom Riders came to Moree - (Pic:Lindy Kerin) ------TRANSCRIPT------ MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: An ugly chapter in Australia's race relations will be remembered today in the regional New South Wales town of Moree. - Fifty years ago a group of university students led by the late Charles Perkins arrived in Moree and exposed widespread racism and segregation. It was the flashpoint of the 1965 Freedom Ride when a violent race riot hit national headlines. - Many locals say times have changed, but others say there's still a racial divide. - Lindy Kerin reports from Moree. - (Sounds from a swimming pool) - LINDY KERIN: The Moree baths are like any other pools around the country. Young kids are in swimming lessons, older women are doing aqua aerobics and toddlers are running through water fountains. - (Sounds from a swimming pool) - But 50 years ago a council by-law banned some people from swimming here, as local Aboriginal woman Zona Moore remembers. - ZONA MOORE: My sister was fair, she had to live up with my grandmother who was fair, so she could go to the pool and I'd be on the outside, she'd be on the inside crying because I couldn't come in because of the colour of my skin, but she was allowed in there. - LINDY KERIN: Zona Moore was 14 and living at the Moree mission when the Freedom Ride rolled into town. ZONA MOORE: We didn't know what was going to happen once we got on the bus or get to the pool. - All we remember was mayhem. There were screams, there were gunjies, you know, and all these people with placards and I though 'Oh my god, what are we in for now?" and we thought we were going straight into the pool but we had to get past those placards and have Charlie and the students get us in there. We thought we were just going straight in there. The fight hadn't even started (laughs). - LINDY KERIN: Later today, some of the original Freedom Riders will arrive in Moree to mark the 50 year anniversary. - The manager of the Artesian Aquatic Centre, Julie Rushby, says the town has moved on from its troubled past. - JULIE RUSHBY: I think things are progressing not only here at the pool but within our community. There is... I don't know if divide is the right word, as much as the community is becoming inclusive. - There are still pockets of our community that aren't embracing moving forward. - For me, in speaking to some of the older Indigenous people that would have been either kids or even adults at the Freedom Rides, they've said to me 'Oh, I still don't go to the pool'. - So as part of our service on the Sunday, we did a smoking ceremony to cleanse the place and hopefully remove any bad feelings and hopefully everybody acknowledges that the doors are open. - LINDY KERIN: Speaking to locals about race relations here is still a sensitive subject and many locals were reluctant to share their opinions with AM. - This business owner, who didn't want to be identified, says Moree has changed. - MOREE WOMAN: I think we've come a real long way and I have heaps and heaps of Aboriginal friends here, which... and I take one to line dancing a couple of times a week, (laughs). Very good friends. We feel we've done our best, the non-Indigenous have done our best. - LINDY KERIN: Fifty years ago, the Freedom Riders were run out of town by violence. - Today, the local council is leading the town's commemorations. - The Deputy Mayor is Sue Price. - SUE PRICE: No one could say that we still haven't got a way to go but things have come a long way. Just our council, for example, we have a 20 per cent Aboriginal employment rate in our council staff and that's very exciting for us as council - and for I think, for the Moree community. - LINDY KERIN: But for Lyall Munro, a mission kid who got on the Freedom Ride in Moree, things haven't changed enough. - LYALL MUNRO: There's certainly racism still wedging the education system here, and that's evident by the number of Aboriginal kids that are consistently stood down by the schools here. - We have now a more serious problem with the rate of deaths here. We have an average rate of 40 Aboriginal people per year. This has been the case for the past 10 years. And, you know, you walk into shops and that, there's still that situation, that feeling of you're different, that feeling of you're Aboriginal, you know, you're black, you're dirty. That's still the view here because those rednecks that were there in '65, the descendents of those rednecks are still very much alive in this town and at the appropriate times, it raises its ugly head. - MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Moree resident Lyall Munro, ending that report by Lindy Kerin.

Remote WA Aboriginal communities under threat from funding cuts

Sovereign Audio Collection - Thu, 2015/02/19 - 10:59am
Caitlyn Gribbin ABC AM 18 February 2015 MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: There are fears in some of the most remote parts of the country that a government plan to shut Aboriginal communities is already driving people out of them. The West Australian Government last year announced as many as 150 of the state's 274 communities will be closed in the next three years because of a funding shortfall. No decisions have been made on which communities will shut, but Aboriginal leaders say the announcement is already causing fear. Caitlyn Gribbin reports. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: The remote Aboriginal community of Mulan is home to about 100 people and sits at the top of the Tanami Desert. Mobiles don't work and phones at the local post office are used to communicate with the rest of the world. But it hasn't taken long for word to spread to locals like Steven Kopp that some Aboriginal communities may be closed. STEVEN KOPP: The stories I'm getting back from the Government is just frightening, you know, really. Don't know what to do. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: The chairman of Mulan says some people are so worried about the community's future that up to 20 have already moved away. STEVEN KOPP: It makes me sad too, that's all my family too, you know, all moving away from their country. You know, they're gone, they've just taken off. People are just looking for another place to move on to because they're just frightened. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: They're frightened that the community may be closed, are they? STEVEN KOPP: Yep. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: Western Australia's Aboriginal Affairs Minister Peter Collier stresses no decision has been made on which communities will close. In a statement, Mr Collier says the absence of the economic and social opportunities that other West Australians take for granted may be cause for people to leave communities. But according to the Aboriginal Legal Service's Dennis Eggington it's the uncertainty that's driving people away. DENNIS EGGINGTON: People are panicking, they're really getting quite upset. And there's a lot of anxiety among our mobs out there. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: Why would some people from these communities think it's a good idea to just leave now before any announcement is made? DENNIS EGGINGTON: I think people are just preparing themselves for what the inevitable is. And that is the history of this country, that's the experience of Aboriginal people; that if government has said they're going to come and move you, then they're going to come and move you. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: The West Australian Government says it will consult with Aboriginal people, particularly those in remote communities. Dennis Eggington says they're still waiting for that to happen. DENNIS EGGINGTON: I find it really distasteful that the inability for government to get down and talk to our communities about this particular issue is causing so much distress. People are not just feeling let down, but feeling like they're not viable, they're not worthy, they're worthless. It's a terrible situation to make people feel like that. CAITLYN GRIBBIN: Back in Mulan, Steven Kopp says he'll continue fighting to keep his community open. He says moving people to bigger towns isn't always a good idea. STEVEN KOPP: When they go to town they just drink and live anywhere, on the street, yeah, they just camp out anywhere. It's really just making me sad really because they grew up here all their life, you know, and now they don't really know what to do. MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Steven Kopp from the community of Mulan ending Caitlyn Gribbin's report.

Tim Wilkey talks to CAAMA

Sovereign Audio Collection - Tue, 2015/02/10 - 8:51am
The First Nations Freedom Summit in Canberra has seen Aboriginal Leaders from across the country have come together to share the First Peoples message with parliament. Timothy Wilkey a Ngarrindjeri from South Australia attended the summit representing Aboriginal youth and he talks to Damien Williams on CAAMA radio about his hope to get more young people to take up the fight.


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