Sunday, December 12, 2010

I am grateful for Aboriginal voices...

1: LIONEL FOGARTY: Today I had the pleasure and privilege to launch Lionel Fogarty’s latest collection of poetry in a chapbook – Connections Requital – published by Vagabond Press in Sydney. Lionel’s work as a guerrilla poet has been known to be for over two decades, but he released his first collection of poetry –Kargun – in 1980. Lionel has continued to write with powerful passion about issues close to the heart of most Indigenous people: injustice, land rights, identity, language, black deaths in custody and the ongoing consequences of colonisation. Lionel’s writing focuses on our need to face a future without oppression and he demonstrates a desire to pass on his own knowledge and experience through the written word. For a taste of Lionel’s work check out The Red Room Company. The pic above is moi with Lionel at the Friend in Hand hotel, Glebe.
2. ALI COBBY ECKERMANN: My deadly sista Ali Cobby Eckermann also launched a chapbook today – Kami – also through Vagabond Press. Ali has studied Visual Arts and Creative Writing at various institutions and has been employed in the film industry. She was a finalist in the 2005, 2006 and 2007 NT Literary Awards; in 2006 she won the NSW Writer's Centre 'Survival' competition for Indigenous writers and was selected to participate in the Australian Society of Authors' national mentorship program. As if that’s not enough, she’s now setting up the country’s first Aboriginal writers’ retreat in South Australia. Check it out here, it’s amazing!
3. BOORI PRYOR: I love Boori Pryor’s work, and his latest achievement is Shake a Leg and it will make the perfect Christmas present for kids 6-10 year olds. I reckon a few adults will love it too!

4. THIS IS WHAT WE SAID: I’m grateful that the group ‘concerned Australians’ published the book This Is What We Said. The book gives voice to what many Aboriginal people feel about the NT Intervention. The ‘concerned Australians’ group is supported by a broad group of churches, social justice groups and individuals across the country who care about human rights.
“This Is What We Said” is based on video footage of Government consultations in 3 Aboriginal communities, community regional reports and 5 government regional reports from the same consultative process.
Editor, Michele Harris OAM, said, “The new legislation recently tabled in Parliament leads us to believe that the majority of Aboriginal people have not been heard by Government. They have been ignored.”
Michele Harris said that an earlier “Concerned Australians” report, “Will They Be Heard”, concluded the consultation process had been flawed. This report was launched by former Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser in November last year.
“It found that many Aboriginal people were not supportive of numerous aspects of the Intervention and that some measures were far from understood.”
“This means that current Government efforts to re-instate the suspended Racial Discrimination Act are not based on information that takes into account the wishes of many Aboriginal people nor does it respect their rights to self-determination.”
“Rather than empower, this legislation continues the paternalistic and failed approaches of the past. Major amendments will be required if the legislation is to reflect the intent of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to which Australia has given its formal support.”
(info from media release)

I'd also highly recommend you watch a 20 min video clip about highlights of past panel discussions which followed the Our Generation screenings.

You can also read the report “Loss of Rights: Despair of Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory” which is a submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The report as well as other related valuable information can be found at here.

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