Representatives of more than 30 nations see Aboriginal affairs at an all-time low
By Michael Anderson
Delegates attending the Sovereign Union gathering in Moree 28-29th that attracted representatives from more than 30 nations have agreed that Aboriginal affairs is at its all-time low. Issues such as incarceration rates, growing domestic violence matters, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, child removals that now exceed those of the period known as the ‘stolen generations’, school curriculums that do not reflect the type and standard of education that we expect for our children i.e. no Aboriginal cultural education and teaching of language by Aboriginal language teachers, all of it complicated by poor housing and low income. This is further compounded by the forced government programming of ‘closing the gap’, which is in effect measuring their assimilation objectives, that is, how far they are removing us from our culture and how successfully we have been absorbed into the white one through their reconciliation program.
The frustration in our communities is that little to no resources are available for Aboriginal community based initiatives to deal with community needs. Only we can deal with our problems. Our rights to self-determination have been stopped at every turn. Programs for community based issues are now controlled by contracted white organisation such as the Red Cross, and church based charities, which employ Aboriginal engagement officers. This is not working and will not work. It is being rejected and Aboriginal people will not engage in any meaningful way.
The questions being asked are why are we not permitted to run our own community based affairs? Why are we the only race of people denied the right to own real property that can be used for economic development? We are the only race of people who when we have our Native Title Rights recognised by the courts, the control of that land does not reside in the native title holders but instead is placed in the legal and administrative hands through parliamentary statute that requires the governments approved prescribed body corporates to have power of attorney over these lands. History and a review of recent and past Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA’s) clearly demonstrate that Aboriginal people are NOT permitted to control their own incomes from royalties or others derived from land use. Furthermore, under the majority of cases the people are blackmailed into agreeing to sign their lands back to the governments in perpetuity if they want their names on the title deeds. This is traded off by offers such as getting a ranger employed on their own land. In some cases, maybe the right to engage a tourist guide. But the tourism is owned and controlled by white operators. The problem with all this is that we have Aboriginal people doing the bargaining on behalf of the governments and other interests, telling the people ‘take this now, at least you will get something and that’s a start’, but when it is realised that we sign our lands back to government or other government funded organisations that is all we get. There are no other real benefits to the rest of the respective nations who are being bludgeoned into these shonky deals.
The Sovereign Union now calls upon our people around this country to stop doing deals and signing away your sovereign rights. These governments are falsely representing themselves as the power and they know this not to be true. They are ruling us by sheer force, and using their numbers to suppress us and thereby deny us our true sovereign rights.
The Moree gathering has agreed that we must now go full steam ahead. We must win back our rights, take responsibilities for our development and wellbeing. The issues have to be dealt with in a three pronged attack.
1. The health and wellbeing of our communities must be focused on and help is needed to avail our people to resources that will permit us to establish self-support programs as a means of achieving self-determination.
In this regard, it may be necessary to establish refuge townships where we can remove ourselves from the white society and get control of our own affairs, independent of any foreign government control. In these camps we will apply to international organisations and foreign government for assistance.
2. We must if necessary establish safe havens for our people where we can grow and prosper. One suggestion was to relocate and build our own refugee camps, because after all we are displaced people and in this regard we must apply to the United Nations for assistance.
In these camps we can establish self-help programs and establish our own police to control our town camps, protect them from alcohol and drugs abuse. We will establish under Aboriginal law a judicial system that will serve our purposes. Additionally we must also establish our own educational programs that incorporate both the western and cultural, with two way language programs or if agreed other chosen languages. In these places we will need to build our own industry which will make us self-sufficient and independent.
3. We will pursue the sovereign rights of our people through every possible avenue. We will challenge at every opportunity the authority of the current Australian establishment.
In this regard, non-Aboriginal people are taking the establishment to task. Just look at the Lock the Gate campaigns and other campaigns against mining. Take a look at what white people are arguing. 1. The State vegetation laws, 2. Water laws of the respective states and the national government’s Murray Darling Basin Plan. 3. The power of the local governments to issue rates. 4. The pretended trespass laws. 5. The taxing of people on already taxable items and the list goes on.
The final matter discussed was the need to go back to country and establish our own citizenship identity cards for each of the people of our nations. We know who we are and we must issue to them their nations’ identity cards. In this regard we must also make the offer of identity cards to non-Aboriginal people who live on our country. We will issue residency cards just as they do in Germany and other countries. This residency card will show that they live on that nation’s land and are residents within it.
It was also agreed that just as we were successful with the campaign for the 1967 referendum we must engage non-Aboriginal participation in our campaigns for the liberation of our people and the nation.
Michael Anderson is Convenor of the Sovereign Union and National Unity Government and the last survivor of the four young men who set up the Aboriginal Embassy in Canberra in 1972. His heritage is Euahlayi and Gomeroi. He can be reached on 02 68296355 landline, 04272 92 492 mobile, email@example.com