If there was one thing we needed more of in the discussion on Constitutional Recognition for Indigenous people, it was the centring of the voices of wealthy, conservative white men. The entire discussion on CR has been missing the voices of conservative white men and what they think on a topic which is going to have very little impact on their lives. And no conservative white male voice has been sidelined more on this topic than that of Andrew Bolt. What with his regular News Limited column, his blog, his TV show and his radio appearances, poor Andrew has been struggling for space to elucidate why he thinks Indigenous recognition would be racist. Therefore, I think it’s wonderful that the ABC have sought to rectify this travesty, and have engaged Bolt on their documentary series I Can Change Your Mind About Recognition and give him the platform he’s truly been lacking.
A Productivity Commission has found that the government will probably not meet 5 of the 6 Closing the Gap targets, leaving many astounded to hear that they might actually achieve one of them.
(It should be noted at the outset that the government’s ‘Closing the Gap’ is not the same as ‘Close the Gap’, which is a coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and community organisations.)
(Adapted from an open letter, from a parent to a teacher published in the Native Perspective July – August 1977)
Before you take charge of the classroom that contains my child, please ask yourself why you are going to teach Aboriginal children.
Yes. They really are a bad idea. (I could pretty much end it there, but that probably doesn’t make for a very interesting post though, so I’ll go on a bit of a rant as well and see where it takes us…)
In fairness, not as bad an idea as the NT Intervention, or trying to implement religious tests for refugees, or cutting over half a billion dollars from Indigenous Affairs, and not even as bad an idea as giving Bolt his own tv show, but still… it’s a pretty bad idea.
This week I am honoured and excited to be hosting @IndigenousX during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week next week.
My sexual health education was limited. I recall learning about puberty and anatomy at school. I also recall learning how to put a condom on with those plastic banana demonstrations. I’m sure you all know the ones!
The past week has seen a continuation and an escalation of terror. Attacks of terror and counter-attacks of terror have hit numerous countries, leaving hundreds dead, thousands of friends and family members in mourning, and many around the world feeling lost, fearful, hurt, confused, and looking for something, anything, to ‘do’ in response to all of it.
Finding the ‘most appropriate’ term to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples/Indigenous Australians/First Australians/First Peoples/First Nations etc is like the Holy Grail of stuff that seems like it would be way easier than it actually is to resolve. Sadly though, it is a conversation that will never go away, and is also one that will probably never be entirely resolved.
A big part of the problem stems from the refusal to accept and use the hundreds of original names that exist, eg Wiradjuri, Noongar, Gamilaroi, etc, and even that often has the issue of agreed upon English spelling of these words. This also doesn’t solve the desire to refer to all groups under a single banner, even though we never had one ourselves.
I grew up in Cootamundra where a local icon, the Cootamundra Girls Home, sat on top of the hill overlooking the small township. Although it was a constant presence in the life of anyone who grew up there, I never did quite understand the impact or significance of it until later on, even though my grandmother was forced to spend her childhood there, the childhood that should have been filled with fun, learning and culture.
These are the years that I cherish now in bringing up my own three kids as I try to guide them through the blended colours of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal culture. My father never spoke about it, neither did his mother. His identity and culture was lost.
By now you could possibly have seen the story about a South Australian cop who called an Aboriginal man a “black c—” and said he would like to “tie the hose around your neck, set you on fire, and drag you around the streets attached to our car with the lights and sirens on.” I say possibly because the story did not get much airtime in the national press and the police officer in question was neither demoted nor fired.
What is the true Australian identity?
This is Aboriginal land. Our people were always here.