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Koori Mail
Our national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newspaper

The Voice of Indigenous Australia

Reconciliation Week 2020: celebrate being in this together on social media

WHEN the theme for National Reconciliation Week 2020, In this together, was decided late last year, no one could have foreseen how prophetic it would be.

And while the Coronavirus pandemic has meant the cancellation of outdoor events, Reconciliation Australia chief executive Karen Mundine said people can mark the important annual week in other ways. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social and economic crises have hit all corners of the globe; we are indeed, all in this together,” Ms Mundine said.

“However, the anniversary dates which mark National Reconciliation Week (NRW) are significant milestones for reconciliation and they remain unchanged: 27 May, the 1967 Referendum, and 3 June, the High Court Mabo decision.

“Like other important dates we commemorate, the purpose remains the same even if the way we mark it is different. So just like our journey towards reconciliation, we will continue to push ahead with national Reconciliation Week in 2020.”

This year’s NRW 2020 will be entirely online, a way of life we have all become very familiar with in the past couple of months.

To launch National Reconciliation Week, Reconciliation Australia is asking everyone to take to social media to acknowledge Country…

Latest News Stories

Elders tell the story

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 1:05 pm

WHEN the ABC approached the Maralinga Tjarutja Trust about filming a drama about the British nuclear testing on their land, the tradition owners had one condition.

You need to help us tell our story first.

So Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman Larissa Behrendt, a documentary maker, broadcaster, writer and academic, travelled to Yalata to meet with Anangu Elder Jeremy LeBois, the chair of the Maralinga Tjarutja Trust, and other community members.

The British conducted nuclear testing on Maralinga Tjarutja land in regional South Australia between 1953 and 1963. The Maralinga Tjarutja people have fought for the clean-up of contamination, for compensation and in 2009, for the handback of the Maralinga Village and test sites. They have gone on to rebuild traditional communities into vibrant, creative cultural communities that will ensure Maralinga Tjarutja custodianship of their lands into the future.

“It was critical that the story was told the way they wanted it,” Larissa told the Koori Mail. “At Yalata the people I met with were really shy, so on that first trip we didn’t film anything, no camera, we just talked.

“It was clear that a couple of things were really important for the community. The bombing was just one thing… 

Ramsay learns to swallow his pride

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 12:57 pm

PAKANA/palawa man Craig Everett has shared his culture and cooking tips with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, when he visited Tasmania early this year, to film an episode for National Geographic’s Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted (season 2).

The foodie, adventure, travel series, which goes to air on the pay TV channel on July 7 in Australia, features Everett and two of his sons ochred up and giving Ramsay a traditional welcome.

“We painted him up with a little bit of ochre, two lines on his face, one on either side of his nose, and told him what it represents, and why we use it. 

“Me and my elder son, we had ours going right across and he asked why didn’t he get his like that,” Everett said.

“I explained that you only get that once you understand knowledge, and once you pass knowledge on. I said even though you’re a great cook in your world, in mine you have less knowledge than my younger son who was with me at the time.

“He ummed and ah-ed at first, but then totally got it.”

The episode features Ramsay diving for crayfish in what National Geographic describe as ‘shark-infested waters’, avoiding venomous…

Ambo Michelle offers some timely COVID-19 advice

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 12:50 pm

YORTA Yorta woman and Ambulance Victoria paramedic Michelle Crilly is determined to keep mob informed about the potentially lethal effects of the COVID-19 virus and has some helpful tips and preventative measures for keeping Elders and the community safe.

Since joining Ambulance Victoria’s Epping branch two years ago, Ms Crilly has been working hard as both paramedic and conduit between Ambulance Victoria and various Indigenous communities, fostering relationships and building trust.

“COVID-19 is a new strain of virus that has never been seen in humans before, so everyone in the community is at risk of contracting the virus, but for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the risk is much higher,” Ms Crilly said.

“This comes down to mob and our Elders having much higher rates of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and respiratory diseases such as asthma, as compared to other Australians.

“That means Aboriginal people are more susceptible to the virus and will experience more severe symptoms, especially our Elders who might find their immune system is low because they already have one or two chronic illnesses.”

Ms Crilly said the COVID-19 symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath and fatigue…

Every little thing she does is magic

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 12:31 pm

BARDI Jabirr Jabirr woman Shari Sebbens was born in Darwin and loved growing up in the tropics. Her dream to become an actor was inspired by a little show called Bran Nue Dae, which was one of the first ever stage musicals featuring an allstar Aboriginal  cast.

Shari’s Uncle took her to see Bran Nue Dae – one of the first stage productions showcasing the songs of the very famous Kuckle’s Band and featuring songs and music by the Pigram brothers with a brilliant story and stage play conceived and written by the one and only Uncle Jimmi Chi.

This work showcased Broome and its myriad of characters, its stories and country. Some of the cast members were related to Sebbens so it was quite the family affair. 

This encounter with the theatre and the magic of live performance set off a little spark in that eight year old girl. Shari was excited by what she saw and joined the local youth theatre in Darwin.

The power of seeing black faces on stage, telling stories our way, was a big moment and a key inspiration that drove Shari to pursue acting professionally.   

You can imagine the 13 year old…

Calls for Police to stop carrying kids in cages

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 12:10 pm

PRESSURE is mounting on police to stop transporting young people in cages in the Northern Territory and to stop targeting Aboriginal young people for strip-searches in NSW.

Police have come under fire from Amnesty International Australia for transporting children in so-called police cages – a ute with a cage on the tray covered with a tarpaulin.

Amnesty has investigated numerous reports of children being transported, unrestrained, in the cages for journeys of up to five hours.

Amnesty’s Indigenous rights advisor Rodney Dillon said it was shocking and inappropriate way to transport children.

“Without cooling or heating, these kids suffer in the elements. Treating children like this is against international standards and transporting people in motor vehicles without seatbelts is against Australian law,” Mr Dillon said.

“But when we raised it with the Government, they said they weren’t worried about it.

“It’s not good enough, it’s totally unnecessary and we need the NT police to stop doing it immediately.”

He said whistleblowers who had contacted Amnesty about the issue had asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the authorities.

In Australia children as young as 10 are locked up in detention and on remand, despite experts from…

College proposal is an initiative in excellence

Friday, 8 May 2020 2:25 pm

PLANS to build Australia’s first Indigenous residential college at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) are already in motion and now a $1 million grant from the City of Sydney will help the project spring to life. 

Wiradjuri Professor Michael McDaniel is the visionary behind the ground-breaking concept and as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership and Engagement at UTS, he said the Indigenous college will not only be Australia’s first, it also be the most comprehensive of its type in the world.

“The college will be a purpose built, world-class, $100 million facility with accommodation for up to 250 students,” Professor McDaniel said.

“And because all colleges have a commitment to diversity, this college will be open non-Indigenous and international students also.”

But the most important aspect of the college, Prof McDaniel said, is that Indigenous students will be the priority and make up the majority.

“As we know Indigenous people are significantly underrepresented in higher education and one of the many barriers for many students, particularly those who want to relocate so that they can attend a university which may not necessarily be within a short commute distance from their home, is being able to secure affordable…