Once again the capitalist press is doing a number on Aboriginal Australians, alleging that the women of the Yuendumu community in the Northern Territory told Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin that they “support the Intervention”. Macklin was at Yuendumu to open a new swimming pool, funding of which predates the intervention..
Articles in both the Sydney Morning Herald (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/10/27/1224955948648.html ) and the Age
(http://www.theage.com.au/national/intervention-goes-swimmingly-in-the-tanami-20081027-59t8.html) by Russell Skelton begin as follows:
PEGGY BROWN, OAM, has no doubts about the emergency intervention or having half her income managed. "It's working, no doubt about it," she said.
The traditional owner delivered much the same message to the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin, when they met for private talks yesterday.
Skelton then concludes that the Intervention had split the indigenous community on gender lines: “The Walpiri community is split over the intervention on gender lines: the men, led by community spokesman Ned Hargraves, are bitterly opposed to income management and the women swear by it.”
All this type of misleading garbage does is to reinforce for white Australians the Big Lie that was advanced by Howard as justification for his destruction of NT land rights, namely, that all Aboriginal men are paedophiles or wife-bashers with a vested interest in opposing the Intervention.
Two things need to be said immediately: Firstly, Peggy was planning to give back her OA Medal to Macklin until the Intervention is stopped! Her speech at the pool opening was cut short by white staff running the pool opening because it was too fiery! Secondly, a journalist for rival paper the Australian, who also printed that "women like the Intervention", got given a copy of the petition Yuendumu people gave to Macklin - which included 236 signatures and more than half of these were women. Community members are pretty sure (but not certain) that Skelton saw it as well.
The full text of the statement that accompanied the petition presented to Macklin by Harry Nelson, former Yuendumu Council President, and signed by the 236 residents in a meeting of the community before the Minister opened the new Yuendumu pool, reads in full:
We, the residents of Yuendumu, want you to listen to the following statement and take our message back to the Federal and NT Governments:
When John Howard and Mal Brough lost their seats, we were happy. But now you are doing the same thing to us, piggybacking Howard and Brough’s policies, and we feel upset, betrayed and disappointed.
We don't want this intervention!
We talked to the Review board, and now the Government is not even listening to the report, and is keeping this intervention going almost unchanged. It is an insult to us.
This is our land. We want the Government to give it back to us. We want the Government to stop blackmailing us. We want houses, but we will not sign any leases over our land, because we want to keep control of our country, our houses, and our property.
We say NO to income management. We can look after our own money.
We want the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 reinstated now, not in 12 months.
The Government Business Manager is useless, expensive, and we don't need them. We want our community councils back instead. We want community control, not Shires. We don’t want more police, we don’t want more contractors, we don’t want more government people.
Everything is coming from the outside, from the top down. The government is abusing us with this intervention. We want to be re-empowered to make our own decisions and control our own affairs. We want self-determination. We want support, funding and resources for things coming from our community, from the inside.
Yuendumu has a lot of things to be proud of. Our community programs, like the Mt Theo program, the bilingual education program, Warlpiri media, the Old People’s program, Warlukurlunga arts centre, childcare, the youth program, should be supported, celebrated, and used as a model for other communities.
We want to keep our bilingual education program and use our own language to teach English, maths, and other things in schools.
We want you to give us respect and dignity, and stop telling lies about our people.
We want the Government to listen to us, talk with us, consult with us, and do things proper way.
According to locals, people in the Yuendumu community are “very, very angry”, one describing the reportage as “perhaps the most insidious piece of propaganda I have seen since the Intervention started.”
The "Intervention" must be repealed, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 restored, and the recommendations of the Little Children Are Sacred Report, shamefully ignored by both the Howard and Rudd governments, fully implemented!