(**WARNING FOR ALL ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLES: This blog contains images, voices and videos of those who have passed away**)
 A blog for and about Indigenous Australian peoples that posts current news stories, achievements, discussions on racism, identity, history and everything in-between!


9 human rights tragedies the world needs to stop ignoring

It’s a tragically long list: missing women, ethnic cleansing and spreading diseases. Pick any country — including the United States — and there’s most likely a tragedy you’ll uncover that seriously violates international laws and standards. While unleashing international outrage can sometimes hurt more than it helps, there are some situations where it can make a real impact. 

Here are 9 that deserve more attention | Follow micdotcom 

(via thepeoplewillnotstaysilent)

Aboriginal protesters evicted by Sotheby’s auction house in Melbourne

Thu 31 Jul 2014, 10:31am

Members of Tasmania’s Aboriginal community tried unsuccessfully to stop the auction of three ancestral photographs at Sotheby’s in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

Ruth Langford and Rosie Smith from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre said they asked people not to bid on the three photos which depicted Aboriginal residents of the Oyster Cove settlement near Hobart in the 1860s.

Ms Langford objected to the title under which a photo was listed: “The Last of the Tasmanian Natives”.

"It devalues who we are today," she said.

"The title the ‘Last Tasmanian Natives’, or what we often hear is the last of the full blood Tasmanian Aboriginals, really disregards the strengths and survival of the Aboriginal people here in Tasmania," she said.

She said no-one in the crowd objected to the protest, but they were escorted out by security.

"You should’ve seen the height of this big security guy, and as they jostled us away," she said.

"I was just standing there putting on my jacket on to leave and they’re like pushing me out the door."

Sotheby’s went ahead with the auction and the photos were sold for almost $7,000.

Spokesman Gary Singer told 936 ABC Hobart the title was the original name given by the photographer.

"We don’t want to whitewash history, we present history as it was," he said.

"If we changed the title of those we would be rewriting history, this is what they were called at that time."

"We stopped the auction, we allowed her (Ruth Langford) to say what she wanted to say and we respectfully accept her point of view.

"And then she was asked to leave."

ABC Online

This is disgusting… I’m just lost for words. 

**Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are warned that the linked article contains a photograph of the so-called “Last Tasmanian Natives” photo collection.**


This blog is a safespot for Middle Easterns. We’re widely ignored in a lot discourse about racism and I’m hoping with this blog we can bring us into the light. This blog will not do a lot of discussion about Islam because Islam is not the only religion in the Middle East and I want to be as inclusive as possible to all Middle Easterns. I also want this blog to be a place where we can praise and uplift each other. Here you can submit things about your country and then we can fawn over it together! 

(via fuckyourracism)


PREVIEW: Desert Pea Media - “Song Nation Vol. 1”

New compilation of youth and community-based recordings of Indigenous music from across Australia. Such a great project.



Well this looks to be pretty accurate.

(via blackcreaturefromthelagoon)

"Two years after the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was raised on the lawns of Parliament House, a storm destroyed the encampment.

The embassy, which started with four Aboriginal activists in 1972, had swelled to over 70 protestors at the time of the storm. Re-established in October 1974, the group has weathered more than four decades of political change, demanding the recognition of Aboriginal legal title and land rights, the preservation of sacred sites, and economic justice from successive governments. On May 26, coinciding with National Sorry Day – and 40 years after that vicious storm in Canberra – another lot of tents were pitched in Sydney’s inner west.

The Block sits wedged between Redfern Station and Eveleigh Street. It’s a sparse green oval resting on a grey concrete slope. On first glance it’s as unassuming and ordinary as its namesake would suggest. But the tents have only catalysed the political discontent and community activism that has boiled below the suburb’s surface for years.” 

Click here to read more about the story and the full article!

[Images were taken by the article writer/s with the consent of tent owners.]

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi, im of asian descent but my textiles assignment is to create an 'aboriginal' wall hanging so i guess influenced by aboriginal art i dont want to be appropriative in any way so what do you suggest is the best thing to do
black-australia black-australia Said:

I would just tell the teacher straight out that creating an “Aboriginal” wall hanging is inappropriate and offensive as it isn’t anyone’s place to replicate or imitate that specific art style if they aren’t Aboriginal themselves. If your teacher understands but dismisses you, I suggest that you take it up with your principle or another person of authority in the school. Also, if you’re okay with this, explain that you will be happy to be doing anything else, but will not complete the task given to you until it is replaced with something that is more respectable as you are not comfortable with appropriating Aboriginal art in any way. 

[Edit: You could also bring up the point that “Aboriginal wall hanging” is generalizing and lumping all Aboriginal art styles together. Because of course, art from Arnhem Land would be vastly different to art found in areas of Victoria.]

To be honest, I’ve just taught myself to expect reactions like this because they’re so common… And personally, I find it sad that I have come to do that. It shouldn’t have to be that way at all. But on another note, hopefully this TV ad can spark new conversations on racism (in all its forms) all around Australia. It’s taken far too long for something major like this to be produced, but I’m really glad that it has finally happened.

BLACK IS - Episode Four

Leeanne Enoch is a Quandamooka woman and Labor candidate. Ever since arriving on our shores, settler society has tried to categorize, define and force upon us their interpretations of Indigenous identity. Our BLACK IS video series is a platform for Aboriginal people to dispel common misconceptions about Aboriginal identity.

For those who’ve come across the seas,
We’ve boundless plains to share,
Unless you’ve come across the seas from anywhere other than Britain,
In which case you can just fuck right off.
The second verse of the Australian National Anthem (as amended by Tony Abbott)

(via letshaveablokesquestion)

Thirty seven per cent of respondents said they thought Indigenous Australians were “sometimes a bit lazy” and one in five said they would move away if an Indigenous Australian sat near them.” 

But racism doesn’t exist in Australia, right? 


Australia’s nuclear industry has a shameful history of ‘radioactive racism’ that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes have been evident in recent debates over uranium mines and nuclear waste, but Aboriginal peoples are fighting back! The British government conducted 12 nuclear bomb tests in Australia in the 1950s, most of them at Maralinga in South Australia.

Permission was not sought from affected Aboriginal groups such as the Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Tjarutja and Kokatha.

Thousands of people were adversely affected and the impact on Aboriginal people was particularly profound.

Many Aboriginal people suffered from radiological poisoning. There are tragic accounts of families sleeping in the bomb craters. So-called ‘Native Patrol Officers’ patrolled thousands of square kilometres to try to ensure that Aboriginal people were removed before nuclear tests took place - with little success.

'Ignorance, incompetence and cynicism'

The 1985 Royal Commission found that regard for Aboriginal safety was characterised by”ignorance, incompetence and cynicism”. Many Aboriginal people were forcibly removed from their homelands and taken to places such as the Yalata mission in South Australia, which was effectively a prison camp.

In the late-1990s, the Australian government carried out a clean-up of the Maralinga nuclear test site. It was done on the cheap and many tonnes of debris contaminated with kilograms of plutonium remain buried in shallow, unlined pits in totally unsuitable geology.

As nuclear engineer and whistleblower Alan Parkinson said of the ‘clean-up’ on ABC radio in August 2002: ”What was done at Maralinga was a cheap and nasty solution that wouldn’t be adopted on white-fellas land.”

Barely a decade after the ‘clean-up’, a survey revealed that 19 of the 85 contaminated debris pits had been subject to erosion or subsidence. The half-life of plutonium-239 is 24,100 years.

Despite the residual contamination, the Australian government off-loaded responsibility for the land onto the Maralinga Tjarutja Traditional Owners.

The government portrayed this land transfer as an act of reconciliation, but the real agenda was spelt out in a 1996 government document which states that the ‘clean-up’ was ”aimed at reducing Commonwealth liability arising from residual contamination.”

Radioactive ransom - dumping on the Northern Territory

Since 2006 successive federal governments have been attempting to establish a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty, 110 km north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.

A toxic trade-off of basic services for a radioactive waste dump has been part of this story from the start. The nomination of the Muckaty site was made with the promise of $12 million compensation package comprising roads, houses and scholarships.

Muckaty Traditional Owner Kylie Sambo objected to this radioactive ransom: ”I think that is a very, very stupid idea for us to sell our land to get better education and scholarships. As an Australian we should be already entitled to that.”

While a small group of Traditional Owners supported the dump, a large majority wereopposed and some initiated legal action in the Federal Court challenging the nomination of the Muckaty site by the federal government and the Northern Land Council (NLC).

The politics is no less dirty

The Liberal / National Coalition government led by John Howard passed legislation - the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 - overriding the Aboriginal Heritage Act, undermining the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and allowing the imposition of a nuclear dump with no Aboriginal consultation or consent.

"Practical reconciliation" was the Howard government’s mantra - in practice this meant crude, populist, dog-whistle racism - as detailed in John Pilger’s latest film, Utopia.

The Australian Labor Party voted against the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act, with Labor parliamentarians describing it as ”extreme”, “arrogant”, “draconian”, “sorry”, “sordid”, and ”profoundly shameful”. At its 2007 national conference, Labor voted unanimously to repeal the legislation.

Yet after the 2007 election, the Labor government passed legislation - the National Radioactive Waste Management Act (NRWMA) - which was almost as draconian and still permitted the imposition of a nuclear dump with no Aboriginal consultation or consent. Hooray for hypocrisy!

In February 2008, Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd highlighted the life-story of Lorna Fejo - a member of the stolen generation - in the National Apology in Parliament House. At the same time, the Rudd government was stealing her land for a nuclear dump. Fejo said:

"I’m very, very disappointed and downhearted about that. I’m really sad. The thing is - when are we going to have a fair go? Australia is supposed to be the land of the fair go. When are we going to have fair go? I’ve been stolen from my mother and now they’re stealing my land off me."

Shamefully, the NLC supported legislation disempowering the people it is meant to represent. Aboriginal owners savour a rare victory

Muckaty Traditional Owners were determined to stop the dump and they have been supported by the Beyond Nuclear Initiative; a pro bono legal team led by legal firmMaurice Blackburn; the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance; key trade unions including the Australian Council of Trade Unions; church groups; medical and public health organisations; local councils; the Australian Greens; and environment groups such as Friends of the Earth, theAustralian Conservation Foundation and the Environment Centre NT.

The Federal Court trial finally began in June 2014. After two weeks of evidence, the NLC gave up and agreed to recommend to the federal government the withdrawal of the nomination of Muckaty for a nuclear dump.

The Coalition government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott accepted the NLC’s recommendation. Abbott - who describes himself as the political love-child of John Howard- might have been called to appear at the trial had it continued.

As a result of their surrender, the NLC and the government did not have to face cross-examination in relation to numerous serious accusations raised in the first two weeks of the trial - including claims that the NLCrewrote an anthropologists’ report.

Dumping on South Australia

The failed attempt to establish a dump at Muckaty followed the failed attempt to establish a dump in South Australia. In 1998, the Howard government announced its intention to build a nuclear waste dump near Woomera in South Australia.

Leading the battle against the dump were the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, a council of senior Aboriginal women from northern SA. Many of the Kungkas personally suffered the impacts of the British nuclear bomb tests at Maralinga and Emu in the 1950s.

The proposed dump generated such controversy in SA that the federal government hired a public relations company. Correspondence between the company and the government was released under Freedom of Information laws.

In one exchange, a government official asked the PR company to remove sand-dunes from a photo to be used in a brochure. The explanation provided by the government official was that: ”Dunes are a sensitive area with respect to Aboriginal Heritage”.

The sand-dunes were removed from the photo, only for the government official to ask if the horizon could be straightened up as well. ‘Terra nullius’!

In 2003, the federal government used the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 to seize land for the dump. Native Title rights and interests were extinguished with the stroke of a pen. This took place with no forewarning and no consultation with Aboriginal people.

Victory in the Federal Court

The Kungkas continued to implore the federal government to ‘get their ears out of their pockets’, and after six years the government did just that.

In the lead-up to the 2004 federal election - after a Federal Court ruling that the federal government had acted illegally in stripping Traditional Owners of their native title rights, and with the dump issue biting politically in SA - the Howard government decided to cut its losses and abandon the dump plan.

The Kungkas wrote in an open letter: ”People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up.”

The Kungkas victory had broader ramifications - it was a set-back for everyone who likes the idea of stripping Aboriginal people of their land and their land rights, and it was a set-back for the nuclear power lobby.

Senator Nick Minchin, one of the Howard government ministers in charge of the failed attempt to impose a nuclear dump in SA, said in 2005:

"My experience with dealing with just low-level radioactive waste from our research reactor tells me it would be impossible to get any sort of consensus in this country around the management of the high-level waste a nuclear [power] reactor would produce."

Minchin told a Liberal Party council meeting that ”we must avoid being lumbered as the party that favours nuclear energy in this country” and that ”we would be political mugs if we got sucked into this”.

Nuclear war

Muckaty Traditional Owners have won a significant battle for country and culture, but the problems and patterns of radioactive racism persist. Racism in the uranium mining industry involves: ignoring the concerns of Traditional Owners; divide-and-rule tactics; radioactive ransom; ‘humbugging’ Traditional Owners (exerting persistent, unwanted pressure); providing Traditional Owners with false information; and threats, including legal threats.

One example concerns the 1982 South Australian Roxby Downs Indenture Act, which sets the legal framework for the operation of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in SA.

The Act was amended in 2011 but it retains exemptions from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act. Traditional Owners were not even consulted. The SA government’s spokesperson in Parliament said:

"BHP were satisfied with the current arrangements and insisted on the continuation of these arrangements, and the government did not consult further than that."

That disgraceful performance illustrates a broader pattern. Aboriginal land rights and heritage protections are feeble at the best of times. But the legal rights and protections are repeatedly stripped away whenever they get in the way of nuclear or mining interests.

Nuclear interests trump aboriginal rights

Thus the Olympic Dam mine is largely exempt from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act. Sub-section 40(6) of the Commonwealth’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act exempts the Ranger uranium mine in the NT from the Act and thus removed the right of veto that Mirarr Traditional Owners would otherwise have enjoyed.

New South Wales legislation exempts uranium mines from provisions of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The Western Australian government is in the process ofgutting the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 at the behest of the mining industry.

Native Title rights were extinguished with the stroke of a pen to seize land for a radioactive waste dump in SA, and Aboriginal heritage laws and land rights were repeatedly overridden with the push to dump nuclear waste in the NT.

Most of those laws are supported by the Liberal / National Coalition and Labor. Radioactive racism in Australia enjoys bipartisan support.

Muckaty Traditional Owners have won a famous victory, but the nuclear war against Aboriginal people continues - and it will continue to be resisted, with the Aboriginal-ledAustralian Nuclear Free Alliance playing a leading role.

hello! to begin i’d like to say i’m sorry if you received this twice, my computer had some issues and i’m not sure if it sent through the first time and your blog is a great resource, i’m really happy to have it available!! the next part is this and i’m sorry because it may end up quite long and pretentious sounding - i’m a year 12 student,  i’m almost completely irish with very distant aboriginal heritage, no knowledge of where this person in my family was from or who they were (but apparently my some of my teeth (????) have characteristics from their genes (more cusps than most europeans - i think? it’s not important)). what’s important is that my major work is on the topic of australian hypocrisy. my idea is juxtaposition of positive sounding lines from the national anthem with images of things that defy what are supposedly australian values, such as the now endangered powerful owl to go with “our land abounds in nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare” and cronulla rioters with their flag capes to go with “beneath our radiant southern cross we’ll toil with hearts and hand”
it was suggested to me that i use this famous image of indigenous people, lined up and chained - - to go with “for we are young and free”, like to say that even though freedom is something we preach here, current australian society is not based on freedom, but on persecution. i’m concerned the use of this image may be distressful, inappropriate or offensive and i’d like to know your opinion (and maybe some followers’ opinions) on whether it would be appropriate to use or not - i decided i’d only use it if i got nothing but positive responses from the indigenous people i ask. once again i’m very sorry that this may have taken some time for you to read through and that i’m very grateful for any response, positive or negative

Your idea for your major work is good and I really like it, but to use that image without the consent of the descendants of those in it would be inappropriate and offensive. Of course if you had permission, it would be a different story.

Also, as much as Australia’s history should be critiqued and analyzed and as much as creating art works (I’m presuming this is for an art subject) that do these things create important discussions, the Aboriginal people in that image already have a story. They are not there for others to use as a template to then add in their own creative spirit. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot take inspiration from that image and create something that is completely your own.

I can’t really give you ideas because you’d have to come up with them yourself, but if you want to follow the feel of that image then reading up on the massacres, missions, slavery and deaths in custody is a good starting point.

Best of luck and send another message if you have more questions. And as always I welcome any of my followers input here!