I don’t “feel” Australian. I don’t ever identify as just “Australian”. I don’t sing the anthem. I don’t wave the flag and don’t really care when I see someone burning it. I don’t feel proud on Australia Day. I don’t eat lamb chops. Frankly, I don’t particularly care for the people who do all the aforementioned. Indeed, a good portion of the time, I tend to view them with disdain and frustration.
The idea that Indigenous people should have their own democratically elected governance structures is referred to directly and indirectly in more than one article in the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people (UNDRIP). If Australia as a nation wants to have a mature response to the socio-economic woes affecting its Indigenous population, self-determination, self-representation and direct input into political decision making and policy development are systems that must be implemented. However, recent Australian political history hasn’t been favourable toward this model, as paternalistic and top down approaches have once again become the preferred method of engagement.
According to a recent article in The Australian, “Indigenous issues have been cut from parts of the curriculum, and students will no longer be taught about Harmony Week, “National Reconciliation Week, or NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week… The Year 6 study of the contribution of “individuals and groups” to Australian society will no longer include a reference to indigenous people or migrants, and will be confined to the post-Federation period.”
<em>Educator and parent, Leesa Watego, reflects on these changes, and what they tell us about Australia’s inability to understand and respect the Indigenous peoples, cultures, and histories.
Kumanjayi Langdon was a proud Warlpiri man from Yuendumu.
He was an artist who contributed to his community and culture. He wrote and illustrated children’s books and posters, and had worked at Yurrampi Crafts as a designer. His public mural of the local footy team, the Yuendumu Magpies, is in the middle of town. One of his paintings hangs in the National Gallery of Victoria.
Tony Abbott calling himself the PM for Indigenous Affairs is similar to my young niece calling herself Batman. It was fairly cute at first, but after the hundredth time she has punched me and ran away screaming ‘I’m Batman!!’, the joke is wearing kinda thin.