~ The Art Of Change ~ with Carol Omer ~

Art and Creativity as Mediums for Empowerment , Connection and Change…

Australian Government to enforce alcohol bans in Aboriginal Communities

Posted by carolom on June 23, 2007

A report into child sexual abuse in Aboriginal Communities has resulted in the Australian Government introducing enforced alcohol bans and medical examinations for all children under 6 in the Northern Territory communities.
Responses are polarised….in the eyes of some, these Aborignal-only laws will only add to the racism and separatism that started the cycle of anger and despair that has lead to many of the issues of abuse and violence in the first place. Others are asking what laws and enforced medical procedures will be put on the white miners who make up some of the numbers of the perpetrators of abuse….

The following is a letter to our state newspaper that I wrote on a day when the news of the bans were released across the country….with headlines that further places Aboriginal Australians in the pathologised, ‘troubled /wounded’ place of the collective Australian psyche, once again ignoring the depth and knowledge of traditional Aborginal culture in its pre-invasion state.

Some leaders are in agreeance with the decision as you can see here and others are concerned for the well being of families who will have to comply with the enforced medical examinations as you can read about here…..


Letter to the Adelaide Advertiser 22nd June 2007

There is a saying that goes, “What is impressed upon a person will be
expressed by the person”.
For thousands of years Aboriginal society was a strong culture
defined by co-operation not competition, sustainable land management
and spiritual and cultural practices that enriched and enhanced
community life. Mental well being, a sense of meaning and purpose,
mutual obligation and belonging defined cultural identity.
A comparatively short time ago land theft, internment into opressive
camps, punishment for speaking ones own language, legalised child
removal, alcohol in exchange for compliance, sexual abuse, work
without wages, lack of legal status until 1967, maginalisation and
poverty was impressed upon the heart and soul of a once strong and
flourishing society.

As a nation we are in the very early days of recovery from the impact
of abducting children from loving family arms and the consequences of
a materialistic, competitive culture inflicting its values and fraught
land management practices upon the traditional land owners.To enforce more laws, rules and restrictions in an attempt to protect
the children is a long way from the deep healing, development of
meaningful relationships between Aborignal and non-Aborginal people
and the strengthening of the heart and soul needed for Aboriginal
Australia to recover from the violence and multiple traumas
inflicted.

What we are seeing now is simply the mirrored- expression of what has
been impressed in very recent times and as Einstein wisely
counselled….”The significant problems we face cannot be solved at
the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”.
We need to think from the heart and link hands as a nation over the
coming years to recover the strength, dignity and courage that
defined Aboriginal society for so long… until us white fellas came
stomping across the country, trampling peoples lives and seeding the
current crisis across Aboriginal society today.
Let’s at least hear you say “Sorry” John Howard before you begin
issuing more of the autocratic rules and dominant culture control
that started the problem in the first place.

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2 Responses to “Australian Government to enforce alcohol bans in Aboriginal Communities”

  1. Very nice letter. Did they print it?

    Having lived in America, the polarisation is much more powerful here than there. I think that there is even greater polarisation related to black/white divide. The native American divide is there, but not as painful as that in Australia. That said I have been on some of the American reservations and many of the issues that are being raised relating to aborigines are true there. There are many native American groups who control land and have valuable economic concessions (gambling and waste management) amongst other things.

  2. carolom said

    Hi Colin…thanks for your comment.
    There are as many Native American faces on t.v.in america as there are Aborginal faces here in Oz…hardly any whicih is another form of racism by exclusion.

    They haven’t printed my letter thus far…The Advertiser are pretty selective about what they post I have found and will be interested to see if my wording of ‘abduction’ when it comes to the ‘Stolen Generation” passes the edit desk…after all any child who is forcibly removed from her mothers arms, simply for the colour of her skin is kidnapped /abducted where I come from!

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