A National Indigenous Body has been born

A National Indigenous Body has been born

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John Ahni Schertow
September 14, 2007
 

Today, a National Political Body has been born for Indigenous People in Australia. It’s called the National Aboriginal Alliance (NAA), and it is the end result of a three-day gathering that took place in Alice Springs this week, which brought together about 100 Aboriginal People from around Australia.

Something like the NAA has been sorely absent for quite some time now. Indigenous People have been effectively trapped, unable to mobilize themselves and nowehere near a position to be heard or respected by the government.

That’s not to say they haven’t been speaking out or protesting, but the divisions and isolations of indigenous Australia has made it all too easy for the government to just ignore it altogether, as is the case with the intervention scheme.

But now a foundation has been layed which gives the people a means to come together and organize to protect their rights and land.

Wasting no time, the NAA has already begun to solidify that foundation. After the meeting, everyone at the conference began to head back to their respective communities and organizations to build support for the new body.

Aswell, they have begun urging Indigenous People and Communities to actively but peacefully resist the ‘intervention’, and is calling upon all Australians “to engage with, speak up and support Aboriginal people’s self-determination.”

Additionally, the NAA has demanded:

We can expect to hear a great deal more in the coming months. I don’t get the feeling they’re going to remain idle.

(Thanks to Olga Havnen of the NAA and Women for Wik for sending me the information package (See Below) and to Ana for originally posting a story about the NAA on her blog)

Resolutions of the National Aboriginal Alliance

Pioneer Football Club, Stuart Highway, Alice Springs
12-14 September 2007

We celebrate the hundreds of years of struggle by our people to maintain our cultural integrity, protect our lands, and fulfill our obligations to future generations. Our Alliance will continue this powerful tradition of activism to determine our own futures as proud and strong Aboriginal people.

The lack of national political representation for Aboriginal people has left us vulnerable to harsh government policies, and these attacks against Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory are a consequence of the lack of representation. Had there been a powerful black political voice in place, we doubt these attacks could have succeeded.

This national gathering of over 100 people from all parts of Australia recognises the need for an independent national political voice. The National Aboriginal Alliance is established to provide that voice.

We affirm our profound commitment to protecting our children from harm. We acknowledge those within our communities who fought for decades to address the complicated issue of child abuse, and we deplore the successive Australian governments who ignored our cries for help.

We reject outright the discriminatory and coercive elements of the Commonwealth’s invasion (‘emergency intervention’) in the Northern Territory.

The Racial Discrimination Act has only ever been suspended on three occasions – each time to erode the rights of Aboriginal people. This previously occurred in 1998 with the Native Title Amendment Act and the Hindmarsh Island Bridge legislation. We demand that the Commonwealth immediately restore integrity to the Racial Discrimination Act.

We demand the immediate removal of Commonwealth Business Managers from Aboriginal communities in the NT. They are comparable to the missionaries and police protectors who exercised despotic control over our forebears and therefore, have no place in our lives. We urge our peoples and communities to actively resist in a peaceful way the so-called intervention in the Northern Territory.

We demand that the Commonwealth respect the property rights of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, including the right to control access to our lands through the permit system; rights that generations of our people fought to secure, often in the face of fierce opposition.

We demand that the Commonwealth respect the expertise and independence of our community organizations. There is not a single reference to child protection in the hundreds of pages that comprise the Commonwealth’s legislative package. Rather than protecting children, this so-called ‘emergency intervention’ is a cynical attempt to subject our people to further genocide.

Many of the socio-economic problems in our communities are the legacies of decades of chronic under-funding in essential service delivery and infrastructure. We demand that our communities receive the equitable services delivery and infrastructure that is our entitlement.

We call upon all Aboriginal people to walk in the footsteps of our Elders whose legacies are now at stake and whose victories are being wound back. We must stand united to seize back the power to shape our own destinies.

We call on all Australians, to engage with, speak up and support Aboriginal people’s self-determination.

Information

Media Release by the National Aboriginal Alliance
Letter to Mal Brough by the Combined Organizations of the NT
Notes on Social security and other legislation (doc)
Land Rights Reform: Fact from Fiction (pdf)
Briefing on the NT Seizure of Powers (doc)
New nation-wide indigenous leadership body formed!
New Aboriginal alliance vows to fight NT intervention

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