By Hilary Tyler
Donations are sought for a project to document the impacts on Aboriginal people of nuclear bomb tests in Australia in the 1950's and 1960's. $1,500 needs to be raised by 30 December to get this project over the line. Please donate and share widely. At the ANFA (Australia Nuclear Free Alliance) meeting in October 2014, Indigenous Elders called for documentation of the health effects from the Maralinga and other atomic bomb tests. From 1952 to 1963 atomic testing covered vast areas of South Australia including Maralinga and Emu Fields test sites. First Nations people along with the rest of the population from the southern regions of Australia were subject to horrific fallout. Permission was never sought from the Aboriginal nations.
This project involves a three-week road trip to archive the stories of the people from Arabuna, Walitina, Ceduna and Yalata country to produce film, audio and digital documentaries. We will begin a data base of the families affected, the geographical distributions of fallout and detrimental health repercussions of these unconsented tests.
The project will meet with people and family members who remained in the vicinity of the testing and were exposed to the immediate effects of radiological poison, people who were transmigrated from their homelands under duress to missions including Yalata in the south west of the state and people who suffer intergenerational impacts firsthand from the atomic tests.
The project is underway and updates are being posted at www.pozible.com/project/187985#updates .
Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons. For more information on nuclear weapons, including an article on Yami Lester, one of the survivors of the nuclear tests in South Australia, see www.icanw.org/au.
Many Aboriginal people in South Australia still rely on bush foods – plants and animals sourced from land that still is contaminated. The possibility of bioaccumulation is very real. Certainly the stories of early death from cancer, thyroid disease and congenital deformities are continuing.
Contact: Dr Hilary Tyler and other members of the project team: firstname.lastname@example.org
“I've lost a lot of my family members through early death – and a lot of it was through cancer, and I do blame the Maralinga fallout.” − Aunty Martha - Arabana (Lake Eyre)
“Just remember that the fallout at Maralinga affected the whole lot of us. Black, white, brindle; we all breathe the same air, and we're all being affected in various ways, even though that happened a long time ago. It's still around.” − Sue Coleman-Haseldine - Kokatha Mula (Ceduna)