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Does Anybody Really Care About Australia's Indigenous?
By : National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Council
Rating : Average Rating : 7.80 From 5 Voter(s)
Views : 733
Forty years ago, some 90.77% of the population stood up for Indigenous Australians and allowed Federal laws to be made on their behalf and to be counted in the census. Even with the hard work of many supporters of Indigenous Australians this was a huge surprise. We moved from the racist colonial system of the past into what was hoped to be a brighter future. “As I reflect on the last 40 years it is evident people do not care, like in the past, about their fellow Australians who are left on the dung heap of society,” said Mr Graeme Mundine, Executive Secretary of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission.

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Comments / Feedback
G Keeler
So, it is forty years since we agreed to give citizenship to the descendants of the original inhabitants of this country.
Whilst I have no idea of the Federal Budget allocation to Aboriginal welfare, much of it must be hidden in Social Security payments to those who rely on them for sustenance. As I understand it, pensioners like myself who, over the years worked and contributed to both Federal and State funds are still expected to 'look after ourselves' as far as possible. Now, we are expected to 'work for the dole' and I heartily agree. I was obliged, through lack of employers willing to employ someone over sixty to accept Social Security and, though I was willing to work for it, that was not on. They told me that I was entitled to it.
I read of Reservation living in relation to the American Aboriginals who, largely, seem to have made a way for themselves despite segregation into communities for those who do not chose to assimilate with general society. What is wrong with our indigenous people that so many do not seem to be willing to come into the 21st Century and help their own welfare? I have heard some time ago of housing being supplied to them without cost, only to find that fires are lit on the floor in the centre of the room because they are not willing to learn how to use modern cooking appliances.
Is the answer to leave those who do not wish to assimilate alone to live their old tribal life the way they used to before we came?
Blythe and Irene Mann
I'm worried! I know I'm late reading this article but in a fortnight only 61 readers on this important topic compared with 81 for the article on Southern's anniversary. Does Anybody Really Care About Australia's Indigenous? No-one of those has seen fit to rate this article. I'm going to rate it twice a 1 because it makes me ashamed and 10 because it makes me ashamed. What do we rate articles for?
G Keeler has it right. I heard an Aboriginal leader recently say that not all Aboriginals want to assimilate. If they don't they must accept partial responsibility for their plight. Any level of assimilation is a matter of degree. Do they smoke? Do they use alcohol or other drugs? Do they sniff petrol? Do they accept western housing? That's a degree of assimilation.
I'm not excusing us whites but how do we help people who don't accept responsibility for their own well being? How do we get alongside individuals and families and help them to rise out of the poverty trap - whether they are Aboriginal or European?
Craig Brown
I think we need to be very careful when we comment on a people who have suffered terrible losses of identity and culture at the hands of the culture in power. This is a difficult issue which we need to be aware that won't be solved with language that could be considered a stereotyping of indigenous people - or others. It won't be solved until those of us in the dominating culture decide to take a real - and possibly - sacrificial interest.
Blythe Mann
To talk about the low life expectancy of Aboriginals is to stereotype them. There would be varying life expectancies among them and can I hazard to say that it possibly depends on their degree of assimilation.

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