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The Voice of Indigenous Australia
Storm clouds gather as Yapa (the Warlpiri community) prepare to bury Kumanjayi Walker in Yuendumu.

Yuendumu greives

THE sun set below storm clouds as Kumanjayi Walker was laid to rest at Yuendumu Cemetery on Saturday, October 17, 2020, just days after what would have been the Warlpiri teen’s 20th birthday.

He was fatally shot as Immediate Response Team (IRT) officers tried to take him into custody in his home in Yuendumu, 300km northwest of Alice Springs in November last year. 

A Northern Territory Police Constable was charged with the murder of Mr Walker, who has been likened to Robin Hood for ‘stealing from the rich’ to give to family. 

Kumanjayi had been remanded on bail in Alice Springs and had asked to be allowed to travel to his home community to attend a family funeral. This request was refused. He attended anyway…

Latest News Stories

Pauline Clague, right, pictured onstage at the Sydney Opera House with Larissa Behrendt and Phillipa McDermott.

Pauline Clague gives voice to our stories

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 4:20 pm

YAEGL woman Pauline Clague, from the NSW North Coast, is an associate professor at Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). 

Known for her extensive work in championing our stories, Pauline has created opportunities and pathways for Australia’s emerging First Nations filmmakers and has also produced numerous documentaries and dramas over her career. 

With many strings to her bow as a creative and a leader, Pauline has developed more than 35 courses around Australia and trained 650 First Nations people in film, television and radio. 

Clague says that she grew up around strong role models and being around the solid matriarchs of the family encouraged her to always embrace culture through her work in the media, sharing her knowledge and passion by mentoring and developing young filmmakers. 

“When I was little, I was lucky to have extremely strong role models like my mother and being around the tent embassy era as a child. I come from a strong matriarchal lineage so I knew I had to have a voice. I knew I had to follow that path of raising the voices of our people,” Pauline said. 

Pauline’s passion for making and producing First Nations content was inspired by American classic film To Kill a Mocking Bird. 

“I thought I was going to be a lawyer. I was in my second year of study and after watching the film To Kill a Mocking Bird I thought I wanted to be (lead character) Atticus and change the world. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make films,” Pauline said.

Pauline understood the power of storytelling. It was something she felt passionate about and was soon pursuing a career in the media after gaining the Lester Bostock scholarship. 

“The early 90s was the start of the Indigenous unit in Sydney and I was a part of the first Indigenous drama initiative. I was part of the team who created the Message Stick program for the ABC...

Tenaya was diagnosed with RHD at seven years old and has undergone two rounds of open-heart surgery as a result. She is with brother Malcolm and their mother Katrina.

Endgame Strategy delivers blueprint for elimination of Rheumatic Heart Disease

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 4:12 pm

AN entirely preventable heart disease claiming the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is finally on the verge of elimination thanks to new evidence-based research. 

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is damage to the valves in the heart that develops after acute rheumatic fever, which is an illness caused by an autoimmune response to a bacterial group A streptococcal infection, which is also called Strep A. 

Indigenous people have some of the highest rates of the disease in the world, but it is rare among other Australians. 

And it can be stopped in its tracks by a course of easily available antibiotics, if it’s diagnosed and treated early. 

More than 5000 Indigenous people are living with RHD or its precursor, acute rheumatic fever (ARF). 

But this number could grow even higher unless a concerted strategy is followed. 

‘The RHD Endgame Strategy: the blueprint to eliminate rheumatic heart disease in Australia by 2031’ pairs research by leading infectious diseases specialists with the knowledge and experience of Indigenous leaders across the country. 

Without implementation of the Endgame Strategy, experts predict that these numbers will more than double in the next decade, with another 8000 Indigenous children projected to develop ARF or RHD. Of these people, 650 will likely die and 1300 will need open heart…

Kaurna man Jack Buckskin.

Film fest ‘Welcome’ is a show of respect

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 4:08 pm

KAURNA Elder Lynette Crocker wants visitors to the Adelaide Film Festival to understand that while they might not have previously realised it, they are on Kaurna country. 

“There’s plenty of Kaurna country in Adelaide, plenty of places, all of the different coloured ochres, the different sands, it’s like the best-kept secrets,” she said. 

Aunty Lynette and Kaurna man Jack Buckskin feature in a series of Kaurna Welcome to Country videos that will be screened before every film at the 2020 Adelaide Film Festival. 

“It has to do with respect and it has to do with cultural manners,” Aunty Lynette said. 

The Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department, the South Australian Film Corporation, and the City of Adelaide have announced the five emerging First Nations filmmakers selected for the Kaurna Welcome to Country video project. 

Isaac Coen Lindsay, Adam Dixon Galea, Kiara Milera, Clem Newchurch and Damien Wanganeen are receiving paid training and mentoring from pre-production through to delivery. 

The five successful applicants will work together with Living Stories to produce the videos. 

“Welcomes to Country are not a new concept, it’s something that’s been happening for thousands of years,” Jack Buckskin said. 

“Once you travel from one person’s lands to…

Yarraka and Quaden Bayles spoke to the Disability Royal Commission last week.

Wise words from Quaden

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 4:03 pm

NINE-year-old Quaden Bayles has a message to the kids who bullied him: “Just don’t be rude to kids who have disabilities,” he said. 

“And just be kind and be nice.” 

Video went viral in February of Quaden, who has a common form of dwarfism, saying he was going to kill himself after being taunted at school. 

Last week Quaden and his mother Yarraka spoke at the Disability Royal Commission, with Yarraka saying she was left in the dark by the school for months following the incidents. 

Yarraka Bayles told the Disability Royal Commission that the school has made recent progress but it took a long time to develop a plan for her son to return to the classroom. 

“It was just our support services checking in with us,” Ms Bayles said. 

“Quaden felt like he was being punished because he actually wanted to go back to school. 

“There were many, many months that went by where it was just me and Quaden sitting at home. There wasn’t anything else we could do and it was very, very difficult.” 

The five-day commission hearing was examining barriers to students with a disability accessing inclusive and fulfilling education. 

Ms Bayles said Quaden requires the assistance of a specialist machine for respiratory problems, but he’s not allowed to bring it to…

Kyole Dungay claims he was assaulted by a police officer.

Brutal assault claim

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 3:58 pm

AN Aboriginal mother says she is sick of her child being ‘brutally assaulted’ after the hospitalisation of her son following his arrest by a Redfern police officer. 

Katrina Hookey said her son, Kyole Dungay, ended up at St Vincent’s Hospital after being arrested by an officer in the early hours of October 1 in Waterloo. 

In a video posted to social media from his hospital bed, Mr Dungay explained the circumstances. 

“I was down the bottom of the stairs at the back of Daniel Solander flats when a detective at the top of the stairs pulled out his gun and said ‘Get down’,” Mr Dungay said. “I did. I didn’t refuse. I put my hands on my head and he came down to the bottom of the stairs and said ‘you f…… dog’ and kicked me in the back of the head and split open my ear. 

“Then he handcuffed me and then punched me in the face and split my lip open.” 

Ms Hookey said it was not the first time her son had been assaulted by police. 

The assault claim follows the release of documents that show NSW Police paid out $24 million last financial year to settle civil claims brought against officers…

Margaret Rarru Garrawurra, Yurrwi (Milingimbi), Northern Territory. Picture: Rosita Holmes

Colour of country

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 3:28 pm

2020 will see two exhibitions of Tarnanthi – the Art Gallery of South Australia’s annual First Nations art festival – celebrated at opposite sides of the globe. 

AGSA’s focused Tarnanthi exhibition, Open Hands, highlights how the creativity of First Nations women artists forms a vital cultural link in sharing knowledge across generations.


The exhibition includes mother-daughter collaborations and features diverse works in a range of mediums from 87 artists from across Australia, and opened last week.

The Tarnanthi Art Fair will be held from December 4-6. Tarnanthi’s creative vision is led by Barkandji artist and curator Nici Cumpston.

Open Hands celebrates the ongoing and often unseen work that women in communities do to maintain culture,” she said. “Keeping these stories alive and sharing knowledge is deeply embedded within everyday life across Australia.” 

For this year’s Tarnanthi, artists have expressed themselves in a variety of media, including…