Ampilatwatja elders threaten to abandon community
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Ampilatwatja elders threaten to abandon community

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John Ahni Schertow
July 24, 2009
 

A group of 30 indigenous elders and leaders from Ampilatwatja, in Australia’s Northern Territory, have said they will soon abandon their community unless the government starts listening to them.

The group says that the intervention has brought nothing but shame and misery to their lives, leaving with no choice but to build a new community for themselves.

“We have no other choice but have now decided and agreed … to return to our grandfather’s, mother’s country which is on the pastoral lease. And let you and your government to live in the community as you wish”, explains a July 16 letter by community spokesperson Richard Downs to Aboriginal affairs minister Jenny Macklin.

“Our people are demoralized, hurt, embarrassed, outcaste on their own community. We no longer have any rights to exist as humans in our own country,” the letter continues.

Ampilatwatja, hoping to reclaim their rights and their health, will build the new community far outside intervention’s current reach, giving them the opportunity to determine how they will live on their own terms, without any colonial interference on part of the government.

The plan of action is fomenting right now at a protest camp three km outside of Ampilatwatja, some 300 km north-east of Alice Springs.

More on this story: Ampilatwatja elders threaten to abandon community because of intervention, Elders ‘walk off’ Ampilatwaja to protest Intervention, Elders walk off gov’t-controlled community

More on Alice Springs: Aboriginal women speak out for their homes (video), Town camp housing takeover, News Briefs

More on the intervention: STOP the Intervention,
What’s Working, WGAR – Working group for Aboriginal Rights, Rollback the Intervention

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