Category: Indigenous Recognition

In The Australian Wars, Rachel Perkins dispenses with the myth Aboriginal people didn’t fight back

The Australian Wars is a new three-part TV series directed and produced by Arrernte and Kalkadoon nations filmmaker Rachel Perkins.

Perkins travels across vast territory to capture key aspects of a war that lasted more than 100 years, from the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 until the 1920s.

The series traces some of the key phases, sites and underlying features of frontier wars here on home soil.

Source: In The Australian Wars, Rachel Perkins dispenses with the myth Aboriginal people didn’t fight back

The white system gets in the way of our law – and now we are scared of our sons being shot | Theresa Alice and Amelia Turner | Opinion | The Guardian

Quentin Walker Jurrah protests in front of the Alice Springs police headquarters over the death of his grandson.

As mothers and grandmothers, our spirits are crying. We want to meet with the NT commissioner of police

Source: The white system gets in the way of our law – and now we are scared of our sons being shot | Theresa Alice and Amelia Turner | Opinion | The Guardian

The whole recognition process has a deep colonial resonance | Paul Daley | Australia news | The Guardian

The whole process has a deep colonial resonance.Indeed, the government’s stultifying response betrays an attitude reminiscent of the old mission vicar: only we know what’s really good for them

Source: The whole recognition process has a deep colonial resonance | Paul Daley | Australia news | The Guardian

Stan Grant compares Indigenous cultural sites to the Sistine Chapel | Australia news | The Guardian

Stan Grant has compared Indigenous cultural heritage sites such as Lake Mungo to the Sistine Chapel and said the depth and breadth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art “punctures” the conception of Terra nullius.The ABC broadcaster made the comments at the opening of the Tarnanthi festival of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of South Australia on Thursday night.

Source: Stan Grant compares Indigenous cultural sites to the Sistine Chapel | Australia news | The Guardian

‘I’ll have to go back and do my time’: Dylan Voller arrested in protest | Australia news | The Guardian

Teenager says he was arrested after intervening when police grabbed his mother and ‘slammed her on the ground’ during protest in Alice Springs

Source: ‘I’ll have to go back and do my time’: Dylan Voller arrested in protest | Australia news | The Guardian

The high standard applied to Indigenous recognition – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

For some reason, there’s an expectation that for Indigenous people to move forward on constitutional recognition or a treaty we have to be in furious agreement; to be of one voice. Why?

Source: The high standard applied to Indigenous recognition – The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

87% of Indigenous people do not agree on recognition. You’d know if you listened : Constitutional recognition is a hotly debated issue in Indigenous Australia.

Aboriginal Australian lawyer and academic Noel Pearson prepares to speak at the Ideas at the House lecture series at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2014. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING

In the vast wilderness that is “the media”, it never ceases to amaze me just how much Indigenous opinion gets moulded and curtailed in order to promote a mainstream agenda. As a writer who was initially “discovered” because I took to social media to create alternate spaces for Indigenous viewpoints like a number of other Indigenous people, I am still, three years later, surprised that I manage to break through this wall. I consider myself lucky. Yet I am a single voice and for the vast amount of discussion and debate we see non-Indigenous men able to have in the media, the same principle rarely seems to apply to voices marginalised within society.

Earlier this week, community social media channel IndigenousX released their findings from a community-driven survey into constitutional recognition. This survey was launched after the Recognise campaign issued a media release stating 87% of Indigenous people would vote yes in the planned 2017 Recognition referendum following a survey of 750 people.

The reason for IndigenousX creating its own survey was simple: the Indigenous sentiment conveyed on social media channels and broader didn’t correlate with such an incredibly high approval rate particularly considering the model has not been determined.

IndigenousX recognise survey
Do you think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be better off if we are ‘recognised’ in the Australian constitution? Illustration: Luke Pearson/IndigenousX

By the time the IndigenousX survey results were released, 827 Indigenous people had participated. The results were striking. It was found that only 25% of respondents supported Recognise. It was additionally found that nearly 50% of respondents would vote against constitutional recognition even if the removal of racist provisions was included in the referendum questions.

The figure voting against jumped to nearly 70% when the removal of racist provisions was taken off the table as an option and to 75% opposed if the model was purely symbolic. Finally, a majority of respondents stated that they did not feel that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives would improve if we are recognised in the constitution.

Yet consistently, we are told that recognition of Indigenous people in the constitution will lead to equality; that it is “the right thing to do”. We have also been told we want this and need to convince the rest of Australia.

Why is it then that so many people who answered the IndigenousX survey disagree with this view? Granted, this was a self-nominating survey where people chose to take part and therefore the results may be skewed toward those who hold strong opinions on the topic, for or against. But the idea that 87% of Indigenous people would agree on anything is even more skewed. We are a diverse group of people and our opinions reflect this.

Do you support the idea of an Indigenous parliamentary body being included in the constitutional referendum?
Do you support the idea of an Indigenous parliamentary body being included in the constitutional referendum? Illustration: Luke Pearson/IndigenousX

Only one question came back with a majority support from the respondents: support for an Indigenous parliamentary body. Noel Pearson has recently championed such an idea. Some sort of permanent political representation has long been sought after by the community, whether it’s a proper body to advise on proposed policy, or it’s designated seats, or it’s the simple push toward achieving parity rates of representation. In 2015, it’s shameful that we only had three Indigenous senators and one Indigenous MP ever elected to federal parliament since federation.

This has meant that for nearly the entire history of parliament, we have rarely had anyone at the table during discussions of policies that affect our lives, nor has there been an imperative on the government to consult us. It is not surprising that Indigenous people want to be at the table because history shows that it is a rare occasion that governments actually act in our interests with our consent.

If nothing else, the results from the IndigenousX survey on constitutional recognition should tell the Australian public that the discussion on this topic is far from over from an Indigenous perspective. There is a responsibility of the public, if they are indeed going to go to the polls and vote on this matter, to engage with this discussion. At the moment, it seems to be happening the other way around and the media, in general, has been neglectful when it comes to giving a platform for this diverse discussion.

When it comes to Indigenous rights, our voices should always be front and centre.