Northern Territory homelands residents take their stories to Canberra

This is an AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL  release 14 August 2012

Not NACCHO policy but provided for information of our members and subscribers

The Federal Government and both major parties in the Northern Territory have committed to support the long-term viability of Aboriginal homelands in the NT, but how has this support translated into actual improvements in the lives of homelands residents?

Next week at a public forum in Canberra, Aboriginal elders and community leaders from four homelands across the Northern Territory will discuss what has changed on homelands one year on from the launch of Amnesty International’s report, The land holds us: Aboriginal Peoples’ rights to traditional lands in the Northern Territory.

A year ago at Parliament House, Amnesty International launched the report in collaboration with the Alyawarr Peoples of the Utopia homelands, 250km northeast of Alice Springs. The report found that as a result of government policy, Aboriginal Peoples were being forced to make the choice between their right to land or rights to essential services like housing and infrastructure.

Moderated by SBS Living Black presenter Karla Grant, panellists of the forum will include:

  • David Daniels, Urapunga homelands
  • Jack Green, Borroloola
  • Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Utopia homelands
  • Nancy McDinney, Wandangula homelands

Audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to the panellists on issues ranging from Stronger Futures to the challenges of living on their traditional lands.

As well as the forum, the delegation will spend time in Canberra meeting with Parliamentarians and Parliamentary Committees.

Members of the delegation, as well as representatives of Amnesty International, will be available for interviews following the forum and on Wednesday 22 August following parliamentary meetings.

What: Public forum: Stories from the ground of Aboriginal homelands in the Northern Territory

When: Monday 20 August, 6:00-7:00pm (5:45pm arrival, drinks and nibbles to follow the forum)

Where: Reception Room of the ACT Legislative Assembly, Canberra. (See here for map: http://goo.gl/maps/NF5uL)

Who: 

David Daniels is a senior elder from the Urapunga homelands outside of Ngukurr who is committed to the development and betterment of Aboriginal homelands in the Northern Territory. A supporter of private enterprise, he condemns the Government’s investment in growth towns at the expense of remote homelands. His contribution to the negotiation and signing of the Mutual Respect Agreement between the Ngukuur people and the police force of the Northern Territory exemplifies his active involvement in the development of positive relations with the wider community.

Jack Green is a Senior Cultural Advisor to the Garawa and Waanyi/Garawa Ranger programs in the Gulf region of the Northern Territory. He is a member of the Borroloola Aboriginal Peoples and has contributed significantly to Aboriginal community-based development programs in remote regions of Australia. An active participant in the “People on Country Healthy Landscapes and Indigenous Economic Futures”, Green has aided in the gathering of evidence to support the contention that the activities of land and sea managers benefit Aboriginal well-being. Green is a strong supporter of the maintenance of Aboriginal connection to the land.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks is an Alywarr and Amnatyerr elder and spokesperson from Utopia homelands.  Rosalie has been a long-time activist engaged in social work and campaigning for the advancement of her community and people. She previously held the posts of Barkly Shire President and advisor on Aboriginal affairs for the then Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Everingham. One year ago Rosalie joined Amnesty International in Canberra to launch the report, The land holds us: Aboriginal Peoples’ rights to traditional lands in the Northern Territory.

Nancy McDinny is an artist from the Wandangula homeland outside of Borroloola. Her paintings depict Dreaming stories and capture the rich traditional life that she, her parents and grandparents live including hunting, bushtucker and travelling.

For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

Pui-Yi Cheng, 02 8396 7644 / 0423 280 658