Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Communique from Aboriginal Australia

I've written here before of my interest and past encounters with the indigenous people of Australia. Their struggle is on going and every day (hopefully) it seems to be getting stronger and more organized. Today I got several emails and links regarding the situation for the Aboriginal nations of Australia so I thought I would make a post here.

First there is Lake Cowal in central New South Wales. The proposed site for a soon to be opened gold mine using cyanide in the extraction process:

"The mine, which has been consistently opposed by the Wiradjuri Native Titleholders and major environmental groups, will pump to the pit and permanently poison 3,650 mega liters of artesian water a year for the next 13 years."

More info here:
Rain Corroboree


Then there is the very strange situation at the national museum in Canberra where "secret messages" in Braille cladding in the foyer have been obliterated. The texts in Braille acknowledged Australia's colonialist history in phrases such as "Forgive us our genocide" and "Sorry". This is a history that the federal government of Australia does not want to hear. So they;

"hired a Braille reader to translate the dots and then had a set of silver discs made, which were affixed in strategic lines on top of the controversial messages, thus rendering them illegible. Others were disrupted by swapping aluminum panels, so "sorry" became "ryors", or something similarly incomprehensible."
via government employed freelance opinionist Miranda Divine.

"Braille: If you pull the building to pieces it contains evil messages."

Outside Australia things seem to be somewhat more balanced with my local supermarket selling a Swedish translation of Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington and a fantastic looking art show by central desert painters is also about to begin in Amsterdam.

Not to be too negative about the situation within Australia, something that looks very positive is the Wik Traditional Knowledge Project (WTKP) that I have written about before here. My mate Dan has been living on Wik tribal lands since 1999 and is now working as a project officer with the TKP. Excellent stuff.

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