Sunday, July 20, 2008

Open letter to visitors to this city

Dear visitors (including, but not limited to my in-laws),

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is not a tourist attraction; it's a political protest. While I don't suppose they object to people dropping by to express support, you don't get to whine about them not looking the way you had expected, not having the views you think they should have, or not being "able" (or perhaps willing?) to give you a potted history of the region.

Yours a little bit horrifiedly,


Bardiac said...

Wow, that's been going since 1972? That seems a LONG time. Have things not resolved, or are there new issues that the Tent Embassy has to work on?

(I'm totally clueless. I'd never even heard of this. Clearly, I need to take a long visit to Australia and New Zealand!)

StyleyGeek said...

Things have only recently started to "resolve", but even then there's a long way to go.

The tent embassy in particular will probably be there forever as they are a separatist group who want full and sole control of the top half of Australia, and want all white people to leave. I don't see the white government agreeing to that any time soon!

But in general, there has been very little progress on reconciliation and amends to the Indigenous people here. It was only this year that the government officially apologised for the Stolen Generation, for instance. Money confiscated from - ahem, I mean "held in trust for" - Indigenous workers (the governement did this as a matter of course up until the 1970s) has still not been returned.

It's all a big mess.

I think NZ is further down the path to making amends, as the government has the Treaty of Waitangi to guide them, and many land settlements have been made, fisheries and forests returned, etc. Still there's a long way to go.