Monday, November 9, 2009

Ampilatwatja Walkoff - empowerment!

The Ampilatwatja people walked off in July in protest to the inhuman way they are treated. This is a good example of indigenous protest and action.

Subtle yet unmistakable.

As Intercontinetal Cry outlines
"In July 2009, a group of 30 indigenous elders and leaders from Ampilatwatja, in Australia’s Northern Territory, walked away from their community to escape the Northern Territory Intervention and regain control over their own lives. 3 months later, the Ampilatwatja Walkoff continues."
and “On July 14 2009 we, Elders from the Ampilatwatja community, walked out of our houses and set up camp in the bush. We are fed up with the federal government’s Northern Territory Intervention, controls and measures, visions and goals forced onto us from outside. We felt we were outcasts and isolated from all decision making -there has been no meaningful consultation… We therefore have no intention of going back there. We intend to stay here until our demands are met. Richard Downs"
What are these interventions?
Ampilatwatja community, 350 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs, is a “prescribed area” under intervention legislation. This means, as well as blanket alcohol and pornography bans, Aboriginal welfare recipients have 50% of their benefits “quarantined” — put onto voucher cards that can be used to buy only basic necessities.

As part of the intervention, the government compulsorily acquired community land through a five-year lease.
The protest camp is located outside the boundaries of the lease, three kilometres from the community, and has been joined by more than 200 people at times.
Richard has been travelling around Australia talking about the issues facing his people. His website is here.
And there is another website here called Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney STICS

A interview with richard here and a quote,
"Question - What led you to walk out of your community?

Answer - Total disempowerment... we have no rights. We don't have equal rights, the Racial Discrimination Act has been taken away, and the control measures [are] coming in, enforced by the federal government. Our voice has been shut down, we've been locked out of any negotiation, engagement or consulting, and it's not worth living there. So we agreed it's not right and we need to get out and create some attention... "
Good on you richard - kia kaha with your fight for rights.

Link from Ana here - thanks Ana

1 comment:

Ana said...

Ka Pai,

also worth checking out:

Word on the ground from Richards Downs"..we should have our water bore drilled in 3 weeks time at our protest camp, thank you for everyone that's helped donate towards the bore. we also have been donated a protest house, which we hope to have an opening on 13th Feb- sorry day to tell the government, with your 672 million dollars you still have not completed one house. yet we have been able to build one in 3 weeks"

Tino pai Self determination in Action. :-)