Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Experiences & Thoughts from the 40th Tent Embassy event in Canberra, 2012

CoGG Bus - thanks to Councillor Eddy Kontelj

The opportunity to be part of the 40th Anniversary of such an historical event was a privilege.

The coming together of peoples from all over Australia displayed every ones intention to discuss the way forward for Aboriginal people and acknowledgement of their Culture.
I sincerely wish to extend my thanks to the organisers, volunteers, attendees, family and friends for a truly impressive show of support and true Australianism - where people look out for each other.

26 January 2012 at the Tent Embassy in Canberra was a wonderful opportunity to be part of a group of people showing solidarity and commitment to the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders …. Australia’s First Nations Peoples. The Tent Embassy has long been a living protest and symbol of the struggle for Aboriginal Rights.
In the words of Gary Foley ‘Native Title is Not Land Rights, and Reconciliation is Not Justice’.
This 40 year continuous protest is about Aboriginal Sovereignty, about the ability for Aboriginal people to control their own affairs. Aboriginal Australia wants  an acknowledgement for a sovereignty that was never ceded.
This protest has seen an incredible amount of criticism of Indigenous Australians …. After reading many articles regarding the events of the day …. I was most distressed to read the comments by the ‘Average Aussie’ …. For those of you who are under the delusion that Australia is not a racist country …. Think again ….!!! Not many really wanted to know exactly what happened ….but were given to great opinions based on misinformation that came from the leaders of this country and their staff ….. and the ‘beat up’ media coverage that followed. The media coverage gave license to many of those hateful comments. For a long time, Australia's media has refused to provide a platform to Indigenous Australians, except those who, tell white Australia what they want to hear: ...that we're ‘doing our best to save the unsaveables, and that the demise of Aboriginal people is really their own fault’

This protest has shown white Australia that many Indigenous Australians are angry… who can be surprised ????

Speaking to the mainstream media Mr Abbott inferred the Aboriginal Embassy is past it’s use-by-date.
A few hours later Mr Michael Anderson and his diplomatic aides visited Her majesty’s Opposition Leader in personaand delivered a clear reply:
Always Was!
Always Will Be!
Aboriginal Land!
The original cause of the establishment of the embassy 40 years ago – the creation of an alien people on their land through the seizure of natural inheritance of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people by Captain Crook and the White Pirates, remains.
224 years on, the thorn of disputed sovereignty continues to sap the national soul.
It was a lesson learnt again on 26th January 2012.

It was a great honour to be part of the group from Geelong to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Embassy.
Community representatives from across Australia were present. We marched to Parliament House and then became part of the hundreds of people greeting each other and listening to speakers informing us of history since the formation of the Embassy in 1972.

Michael Anderson: the only surviving member of the four men who set the embassy up in 1972, spoke along with many other elders who have been part of the embassy activities over the 40 years. Ideas were shared for many aspects of the journey ahead, including sovereignty.

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