By Gerry Georgatos - courtesy of The Stringer - On January 26, the nation’s attention will turn to Canberra but not for the usual fanfare. The Freedom Movement will reach the front lawns of our national parliament, with the leaders and Elders of the descendants of the original peoples of this continent commencing a sit-in. Nearly 43 years ago, four young men jagged themselves under an umbrella on the lawns of Canberra’s parliament and all of a sudden changed the course of the Aboriginal body politic.
“We are heading to Canberra to reclaim the Aboriginal rights struggle, and the right for our voices to at long last be heard once again,” said Mr Sansbury.
“Our people will gather in numbers around the leaders. We as Blacks will do the leading however the struggle for what is right must be owned by everyone – White and Black. We need everyone to drop whatever they intended doing January 26 and onwards and rock up to Canberra and stand, or sit, solid, alongside the Black lead.”
“We will not move, we will go nowhere, we will stay. Not till we are heard, not till the domestic and international media have a fair look at what is going on with the downtrodden Black in this wealthy White-run nation but we will stay till our people are free from the shackles of oppression, free from murderous assimilation, because the hurry of assimilation is indeed of a murderous nature.”
On November 27 and 28, First Peoples leaders converged on Mparntwe, Alice Springs, for a Freedom Summit. The idea had been only five weeks old when the Summit took place but leaders came from all over the continent. The Summit was achieved without any significant funding. It came together off an oily rag. The Summit gave birth to the Freedom Movement and interim delegation assembled.
The potential significance of the Summit was observed with politicians sending their staffers to the Summit for the two days, with Land Councils sending their executives, with the worried Congress of the First Peoples sending its CEO, with the Federal Government making contact with its organisers. But more importantly conservative media sent its reporters. The Australian,The Guardian and The ABC ran a suite of stories. But they all asked where to from here?
“Canberra,” said Mr Sansbury.
“43 years ago, four young men changed much for our people when they set up their umbrella on one of the lawns of parliament and sat under it for the nation to wake up to.”
“On January 26, the nation’s attention will be strewn to hundreds if not thousands of our people moving in for a sit-in just outside of parliament. We are mobilising as we speak.”
“With 2015 fast approaching, 43 years after Aboriginal Tent Embassy, far too many of our people are worse off than then. I do not have to do the statistics, we know them. They are the narrative that proves the ongoing racism of this nation.”
“Our homelands are under one attack after another and there are more land grabs. The threat to close down hundreds of communities has horrified and terrified people. This is ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is a racialised thing, the forced removal of peoples from where they live.”
“Our people continue to suffer genocidal impacts. Genocide is not just the presumption of bodies strewn all over the streets and fields. Genocide by definition is the systematic destruction of a people, often over generations. We are systematically under attack, land grabs, forced closures of our communities, and the horrifyingly cruel assimilation practices. The Stolen Generations was an act of genocide completely in accordance with the very definition of genocide. Genocide is not about bodies in the streets. Where bodies are strewn all over the streets such as tragically occurred in Rwanda in ’94, that is in effect mass murder. Genocide is generationally systematic and often intended as covert.”
“Genocide is what occurs to First Peoples all over the world, as Governments and multinational robber barons rape and pillage our lands, as Governments legislate this and that to favour the robber baron, while our people are systematically turned into the walking dead, with nowhere to go but into assimilation or into a dark tumult of a haunting lone stand.”
“There is a push in this country for a social order that serves the interests of the few and which has no place for our peoples. Our peoples are many, we are not just Aboriginal, Indigenous, First People, Original people, we are peoples who nurtured and were nurtured by this continent for up to a hundred thousand years and maybe longer. The constitutional bullshit about recognising us is not about our peoples but about Australia’s racism.”
“The constitutional minimalism that much is being made of is a crafted agenda, a deplorable agenda to further assimilate more of our peoples. We are not some remnants of a people, we are instead Narrunga, Arrernte, Noongar, Gadigal, Kamilaroi, Wiradjuri, we are many and we are different, but we will stand as one against the oppression and racism against our peoples.”
“Australians should hang their heads in shame for the racism that pollutes the constitution which actually prescribes a capacity for racism against our peoples. Some lame preamble in the constitution will not free our people from the thievery in the agendas of those who are telling us who we should be and how we should act.”
“We have the disaster in this country of individuals such as Andrew Forrest telling our people how to live. He recommends a work-for-the-dole for our homeland communities. This is exploitative labour. Where are the unions to challenge this, to outcry? How is it always the same people again and again selling Mr Forrest’s message. He is a throwback to the 1920s. How is it that Warren Mundine, one of his former GenerationOne honchos is the Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Council, selling all things Forrest, how is it that Tim Gartrell is the head of Recognise? He too was a head honcho of Mr Forrest’s GenerationOne. The Aboriginal rights struggle must reclaim its voices; that is the voices of the peoples.”
“We must act now, as we did in 1972, because in waiting we will be robbed of every last vestige of whatever it is we are clinging on to.”
Freedom Movement stalwart, Kamilaroi language speaker, Dr Marcus Woolombi Waters said, “This is not a war we are going to win with steering committees and elected board members replicating the very systems that are working against us.”
“From the Freedom Summit there have been a number of what I like to call ‘Cultural Ambassadors’ nominated as delegates to spread the word to both the world and to our communities alike in that we have had enough and that we, by consensus, reject wholeheartedly these projects such as Empowered Communities as designed by Noel Pearson; the Northern Territory Intervention with both Noel and Marcia Langton as its architects, no matter how much they try and distance themselves now; and the Forrest Report.”
“The most significant point that came from the Freedom Summit was we will determine our own pathways to self-determination. We will establish and identify policy from within our own communities and our Peoples,” said Dr Waters.
Delegate Roxley Foley said, “The Summit was the beginning.”
“Canberra is the next step. We have an interim delegation that is now going to as many communities as possible to inform the people of what is going on. We will mobilise for Canberra. We’re not going to take any more of Canberra’s shit. Let them be on notice that we are coming.”
“The only way we have got change was by getting on the streets in huge numbers, by doing it again and again, by staying power. This is what we will do again. Whatever good that our people have gained it has been secured by us, not by the grace of governments, but by us.”
Originally published on The Stringer http://thestringer.com.au/43-years-to-the-day-since-tent-embassy-sit-in-...