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.
In October, Ampilatwatja’s spokesperson, Richard Downs, conducted a speaking-tour along the east coast of Australia to raise awareness about the Ampilatwatja walk-off and to appeal for funds to make sure the new camp remains self-sufficient.
Accompanying Richard was Harry Nelson, a Warlpiri Elder from the Yuendemu community, who talked about the government’s attempt to force his and other communities in the Northern Territory to sign over their lands to the government for 40 years. This video, produced by JuiceMedia, covers footage of Richard and Harry’s speaking tour while they were in Melbourne, October 14-16.
For updates and to learn more about the walk-off, visit http://interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com or contact Richard Downs spiritualdesert(_at_)yahoo.com.au 0428 611 169
“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.
I would like to send a personal invitation to all our brothers and sisters, who are leaders and workers in their Aboriginal organisations to come together as one people. I would like to share with you the visions of our leaders and Elders and the path we have chosen to honour the lines of our country, mother Earth, our dreaming and spirituality. Brothers and sisters, we are one and we are part of you. We are all connected through mother Earth. This is the true line we must follow to unite and to bring all our white brothers and sisters on this journey with us. We have many struggles and journeys ahead. The time is now. It is vital that we come together to listen to each other and share our thoughts and ideas on the way forward. What will be the future for our aboriginal people across this country? I look forward to meeting many of you on the tour and hope to create lasting friendships and connections so that we can work towards creating a better future for our younger generations.”
Alyawarra People, Ampilatwatja Community
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