View Post

Daniel Lester. Economic prosperity is crucial to improving social outcomes for Aboriginal people

I am Daniel Lester, a proud Wonnarua man and a descendant of the Lester family, born in the Sutherland shire with strong family connections to La Perouse and the south coast of NSW. I’m the first deputy ombudsman (Aboriginal programs) in NSW and Australia.

The broader NSW Ombudsman agency in which I sit is an independent and impartial watchdog, overseeing most public sector and many private sector agencies to make sure they meet their responsibilities to the community. Loosely translated, the word “ombudsman” means “the citizen’s defender” or “representative of the people”. We are independent of the government and accountable to the public through parliament itself. Our mandate is to improve the conduct and decision making of agencies within our jurisdiction.

The Noble Savage Ultimatum

There was much uproar when Dennis Jensen recently evoked the centuries old ideal of the Noble Savage, mostly because he used a term so outdated and racist that most of us aren’t really all that familiar with it, we just know that it is outdated and racist.

Jensen however is standing by it and says that, in the context of his speech, it was perfectly appropriate usage.

View Post

Tasman Keith. Indigenous Australia: it’s too late to redecorate; we need to demolish the crib

What’s up people? I go by the name of Tasman Keith, I’m a Goori man from Bowraville which is in the Gumbaynggirr Nation – my Aboriginal heritage comes from my father’s side. I also inherit bloodlines of Irish, Scottish and English from my mother’s side.

I’m a full-time musician and part-time school learning support officer at Bowraville Central. When I’m not working on music I’m helping the kids from primary and secondary with their education, which often gets sidetracked with either their questions on my music, or their questions on Aboriginal history.

We need to do more than just condemning racism to close the gap.

There is currently a Change.org petition circulating with over 20,000 signatures calling Prime Minister Turnbull to condemn the words of racist shock jock, Alan Jones, who recently said that “We need Stolen Generations”.

There is certainly a lot of merit to the idea that, as Prime Minister, it is important that our nation see Malcolm Turnbull speak out against such racist, offensive, dangerously ignorant, and grossly ill-informed comments.

Introducing Jacob Gregory aka Lyrical Instinct

Editors note: I was recently sent a clip of a young rapper out in Broome named Jacob Gregory aka Lyrical Instinct. I was fairly impressed with his video so I got in touch and had a quick yarn with him. He’s doing his HSC at the moment but dreams of one day making it big in the rap game, and I thought we could help him get started by letting him introduce himself to you mob and including his video for you to check out.

My name is Jacob Hamaguchi (Gregory), I’m from Broome, Western Australia. I was born and raised in Broome all my life and never really moved. The only other places that I’ve ever been to are Perth and Geraldton.

There isn’t a New Stolen Generations, the old one never ended.

Ever since Kevin Rudd’s Apology to the Stolen Generations, this week has been one of the bigger weeks in media and Government for discussion of Indigenous issues. Each year we hear updates on the Government’s Closing the Gap initiative, as well as the Close the Gap report. We hear discussions and reflections on the Apology, at the time called ‘The First Step’ in addressing our past and creating pathways to a better future.

One topic which is notably underrepresented during this increased focus on Indigenous issues is perhaps the most relevant to what the Apology was about, and that is the overwhelming number of Indigenous children who continue to be removed from their families. The rate of which is today higher than at any point in Australia’s history.

View Post

Kristy McMahon. As an Indigenous woman, it’s been a long, hard journey to find out where my family is from

My name is Kristy McMahon, I’m an Aboriginal woman from Brisbane. I have been fortunate to grow up strong in my identity as an Aboriginal woman, but like many other Indigenous families affected by the Stolen Generations I have had to struggle with not knowing where my mob is originally from, not knowing any stories of that place, and having far too few family stories to try and piece it together.

I’ve always known I was Aboriginal, and have always felt accepted into the community I’ve been living in. I got my confirmation of Aboriginality when I was young with my father and sister. I don’t remember why we got the forms, it was just something that you had to do. I know that Aboriginality is much more than just a piece of paper though, and have been trying to learn as much as I can about our family history.

The Closing the Gap Trap

Close the Gap.

Closing the Gap.

The former is the campaign to get the government to change the way it structures the Indigenous Affairs; the latter is the government’s efforts to do so. The fact that the government hijacked the branding of the Close the Gap campaign to make its own response look better was probably not a great way to build trust and send a message of respect, partnership and collaboration… but I digress.