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Women for Wik. Monitoring the Federal Action in the Northern Territory
[This website has a lot of useful links to stories on the interventions - media releases, community voices including from Yuendumu on how to solve the housing crisis by bulldozing an Aboriginal shelter with a house for a bureaucrat, and from the Arts coordinators on the problems with abolishing CDEP]


Adelaide Public Forum, Monitoring the Federal Government Action in the Northern Territory
Part of Cultural Heritage, Social Justice and Ethical Globalisation - A World Archaeological Congress Symposium

This discussion panel gives people in South Australia an opportunity to learn directly from the Northern Territory Aboriginal women who are affected by the intervention.

Symposium Dates: 28th & 29th September 2007

Opening: 9.00am, 28th September, including Kaurna dancers

Public Forum: 11am-12.30pm, Friday, 28th September, 2007

Venue: Hetzel Lecture Theatre, Institute Building. State Library of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia.

Convener: Claire Smith, President, World Archaeological Congress, Dept of Archaeology, Flinders University

Speakers: Northern Territory Aboriginal women, Rachel Willika, Eileen Cummings, Olga Havnen, and Raelene Rosas.

Women for Wik Statement
The Federal Action in the Northern Territory could provide a unique opportunity to improve conditions in Aboriginal communities, but there is also a real possibility that it may make things worse. As currently planned, it will undermine key aspects of Aboriginal societies - country, kin and culture. Moreover, by using a top-down approach, it has the potential to work against self-government and, in some instances, contravene human rights. This will not improve the lives of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

Accordingly, we call on both Federal and Territory governments to recognise the importance of Indigenous identity and develop an environment of mutual respect through cross-cultural awareness, communication and engagement. Like the many Australians who walked the Sydney Harbour Bridge in support of reconciliation, we believe our generation can ensure a fair go for Indigenous citizens.

Comments

Re the Women for Wik Statement:

If the Intervention, with its improved safety and security for the vulnerable, its measures to address the widespread neglect of children and improve their living conditions in sustainable ways, and its efforts to lower the rates of binge drinking, drug use and waste of welfare money, is considered a threat to "key aspects of Aboriginal societies - country, kin and culture", what then is likely to be able to protect, save, sustain or salvage what remains that is valuable in Aboriginal societies?

Personally, I can't understand how the intervention could seriously be considered an attack on country, kin or culture.

Indeed, it seems to me that the Intervention is aimed at strengthening Aboriginal people and their society, and making it sustainable.

Subsequently it should enable the strengthening of what people consider valuable from traditional (or contemporary) culture. Then in turn this should enable the attachment to land and kin to survive in a stronger way than is often possible under the prevailing conditions in which many people now grow up.

As for the issue of self-government - it is fairly obvious that theoretical self-government, in the absence of effective education, employment and a reasonable degree of sobriety, has not amounted to much, or worked in the interests of the mass of remote Aboriginal people, insofar as it has actually existed at all.

The issue of human rights needs to be considered not just in the abstract, but also in the concrete and immediate sense: does a people have a right to be provided with a sustainable framework, as well as the necessary resources, for survival and development and self-governance by the state that is responsible for their rights and wellbeing?

If substantial numbers and influential members of a population are overcome by self-destructive habits and addictions, to the extent that the majority of their children are failing to benefit much from available education, training and job opportunities, is there an obligation on the part of the state to act in the interests of the survival of the group by adjusting some of the primary structural factors influencing their survival?

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