Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thoughts for Sorry Day

I posted this on Sorry Day on my Facebook page. It got so many shares that I am republishing it here. Coming to you live from Hawaii!

It's National Sorry Day back home. Here's a few things that the Federal Government, and Australia as a whole, should be sorry for:

1. The fact that they just cut $500 million from the Indigenous programmes budget and are perpetuating the myth that the only mob that need assistance are those in remote communities because the rest of us are nicely assimilated (the need is extraordinary in most remote communities, but this does not mean that there is not a need elsewhere)

2. The fact that the Federal apology was entirely a symbolic gesture that purposely omitted any notions of compensation for the Stolen Generations or any form of repatriation bar some nice words

3. The hand-picked Indigenous Advisory Council with Warren "I'm prepared to be the most hated man in the country" Mundine at the helm. Our right to democratically select our own leadership at the top levels of governance in this country has been completely negated

4. The Recognise campaign. I do not support a well-funded bid to write us into a document that was written by the colonisers to purposely omit us in the first place. Let's go back to the drawing board as equals.

5. The fact that children are being taken into care at a rate greater than they were during the height of the stolen generations

6. The exorbitant incarceration rates

7. The fact that Aboriginal women are 10 times more likely to be victims of homicide and 45 times more likely to be victims of family violence than non-Aboriginal women, yet the rate of violence experienced by non-Aboriginal women is far too high as it is. Social acceptance and excusing of violence against women is costing lives.

8. The repeated refusals to acknowledge the Frontier Wars

9. The stolen wages that are still outstanding

10. The fact that they are even discussing changes to the Racial Discrimination Act at this point

Any others? Feel free to add them

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Aloha from Oahu

Hi rant readers!

Writing to you from my hotel room in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. I flew in this morning for the World Indigenous People's Conference in Education (WIPC:E) - a triennial conference bringing Indigenous education practitioners and activists together from across the globe. We're presenting a seminar on racism, discrimination, cultural respect and lateral violence in the academy, and as well as attending many other sessions by some extraordinary people, I will also be going on a cultural tour to a bunch of women's sacred sites across the island, seeing a bunch of performances by the host community and everywhere else, and generally having an amazing an inspiring time. So for the next week or so, expect this blog and any social media I tap into (should wifi be available) to read like a bit of a travel log.  I will also be writing my final article for Tracker whilst I am here and am certain that the inspiration will come from the event and the location. Fingers crossed!

I've previously written about how when I first went to a WIPC:E back in 2005, it was a life-changing experience. My eyes were opened a hell of a lot and indeed, I credit the experience with further radicalising my views. Simply put, to have points of comparison from across the globe thrust in front of me for the first time ever awakened something. The perspective that you don't get when you stay in Australia and are fed countless lines about "black armband history" and the like. It's also why I have a life-long love affair going with Aotearoa. 

So waiting to see what the Native Hawaiians have in store. I am certain it will be extraordinary. Tomorrow's the registration, then on Sunday we have the opening, and we will be meeting up with other education unionists for dinner that night via Education International. Then the sessions start. A busy few days ahead.

As a side note, this is the first time I have been to the US. Not sure what to make of Waikiki Beach, to be honest. So many designer boutiques that I'm finding it quite oppressive, and I really dislike the tipping system. I've only had to deal with it once thusfar, but it just reinforced why I am such a fan of our nearly $17ph minimum wage in Australia. I found myself giving quite generous gratuities because their base rate is so low and they probably have to deal with utter bastards all day. The service was attentive and exquisite but I still find the concept rather horrible. The weather has been wonderful, and when I saw Waikiki beach with the thousands of people on the sand, I couldn't stop thinking that I was actually looking at Newcastle sand or Port Kembla sand, as proud locals of both places have told me this is the case (Google won't let me confirm though :( ). Waiting to see how this place grows on me, so any tips regarding slightly left-of-centre activities for a ranting black feminist to embark upon will be gratefully received.

I did find this, however. For those playing at home, meet Red Velvet Cheesecake. Just phwoar! And on that note, signing off with a fork in my hand ready to roll :D