Category Archives: Stolenwealth Games

Aotearoa ALWAYS represent!

This is probably about the closest I’ll get to being nationalistic…

I had tears of joy and pride rolling down my cheeks as I watched the Maori TV coverage of the demo in Tamaki Makaurau yesterday in solidarity with the Aboriginal Nations in opposition to John Howard’s Invasion of Aboriginal Land. Mad props to the two arrested!

Awesome action people, and great to see the Te Whanganui e Tara posse are organising and a little birdy told me there is whispers of organisation in Outatahi as well.

There was also a fantastic statement from Metiria calling on international solidarity. And so far these groups have come out in support:

Whakaminenga o Te Paatu
Te Ata Tino Toa
Conscious Collaborations-Global Indigenous network
Mana Wahine
Solidarity Union
Socialist Worker (Aotearoa)
Human Rights Project Aotearoa
Wellington Wildcat Anarchist Collective
Aocafe (Aotearoa Cafe)
Green Party Aotearoa/NZ
Radical Youth (Auckland)
IA ImagineNative Action
Us crew in Australia better get our shit together then eh ;)

Always was, always will be, Aboriginal Land!

Scoopit!

Stop The Genocide

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Uncle Kev Needs Our Rev

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott , elder of the Arabunna Lands of South Australia ,the Keepers of Lake Eyre and indigenous campaigner has been diagnosed with cancer. As part of his recovery process over 35 indigenous and non-indigenous artist’s have gathered together to put on a spectacular benefit.

buzzacottspectacular-poster.jpg

Continue reading

Camp Sovereignty – v2.0

So it’s been a year since we successfully occupied on of Australia’s most valuable piece of real estate for 60 days without a single person being arrested. We managed to maintain a drug, alcohol and violence free camp – bar the violence on the part of the police on the final night. And we managed to get the message out to the world and the main issues for the oldest known culture on this planet are genocide, sovereignty and treaty.

And we had a shit load of fun.

So we’re getting together again on Monday for the anniversary of the day we set up camp. I urge all of the 10 thousand or so Melburnians who visited during the camp to pop down for a cup of tea and catch up.

Oh and someone please bring a BBQ, eh Rosa?

If you want to know more about Camp Sovereignty and how seriously cool fun it was, check out the Camp Sov site, it’s pretty.

UPDATE (belated one I’m sorry): There was a little bit of confusion amongst the Police about who was giving the orders and there was a temporary moment of humanity on their part. Don’t worry, someone remembered the are supposed to be the tool of the colonialist oppressor and they started to behave accordingly. See Indymedia for details.

When will the whole world be watching?

It’s Australia Day today. Otherwise know as Invasion Day. Otherwise (and more recently) known as Aboriginal Sovereignty Day.

So while all the white fullahs run around handing out medals and having barbies, a small minority of people in Australia get together to hold an alternative celebration.

Not a celebration of the day that Captain Cook turned up and declared the place empty and therefore British. Rather a celebration of the approximately 80 000 years of Aboriginal culture on the continent now known as Australia.

They celebrate the oldest known culture on this planet. A culture that has survived despite the ongoing criminal genocide being perpetrated against the First Nation peoples of Australia.

They celebrate the diversity in language, art, song, dance and tradition. Despite the outrageous destructive behaviour still going on today to try and wipe this diversity of the memories of the people and the land.

‘Nobody owns the fire. Nobody owns the Kangaroo and the Emu. There’s no copyright on the boomerang.’ Uncle Kevin Buzzacott

They celebrate the spirit of resistance. Despite the divide and conquer strategies of the State, hell bent on killing anyone that gets in their way.

And they honour all of those who have fallen before.

And they call on the rest of the world to join with them in this celebration. And call on the rest of the world to join with their voices calling for an Australia that ends the Genocide, recognises the Sovereignty and makes a Treaty to honour and protect Indigenous Australia.

Reconciliation is not assimilation. Assimilation is cultural genocide.
Without the culture and without the spirit, the land will die.
Without the land, the people will die.

Please spread the word.

New cool blog

May I introduce Insultadarity, a new blog from a friend of mine. So far it’s proving to be exceptionally hilarious, so I recommend you check it out. I particularly recommend the reasons to give up smoking, very good!

I look forward to reading more!

Absolutely, bloody racist

Since I've moved to Australia I have had to adjust to the higher level of public racism. There's many reasons for it which I won't go into now, but it exists, big time.

And I'd been kinda getting used to it, not in accepting way, but I managed to stop my jaw hitting the ground everytime I heard a politician talking about 'those abos'.

But the moves by the Vitctorian State Government blew my feckin socks off. When I first read the press statement it accidentally slipped out. Couldn't help myself. 'Man, this country's fucked', I whispered, much to the amusement of the men sititng either side of me!

So here's the tale. The government's all upset because they had this bunch of people planing on camping out to protest during their shiny blue Commonwealth Games. Ol' Bracksy's trying to look as best as he can so he quietly puts out the word to go easy on them. Hey, make positive mileage out of it if you can.

Now to cut a long story short, they're still there and have managed to not only get some pretty good support for their cause (no matter how hard the government worked on the ol' divide and conquer technique), but they've managed to have that area put under an Emergency Heritage Declaration to protect the Scared Fire and Burial Site.

So now the Government's got themselves in a spot of bother. The reactionary, racist section of the community wants action, the Government has its hands tied due to a higher law than their own. But they really want to be seen to be doing something.

What to do.. what to do…

Some bright spark had the idea of changing the law to stop "them" doing "it" again. Ah ha says government, brilliant idea, doesn't quite get us out of this situation but will stop it going on any longer and will stop it happening again.

So what did they do? The Government has FIRED EVERY SINGLE CULTURAL HERITAGE INSPECTOR IN VICTORIA. They haven't appealed the Emergency Declaration in the Courts – which they could do. They haven't rung the inspector up and said 'come in, we'd like to have a chat and see how we can help resolve these issues – which they could do. They probably haven't even read the bloody thing…

So what does this mean in effect? In Victoria there was 48 volunteers who were recognised as experts in the field of cultural heritage in respect to Aboriginal People. Their job is to act as experts in development issues. This is to prevent direct action protest and promote dialogue. But now? The Minister, who is about one of the pastiest Aboriginal Affairs Ministers I've ever seen has decided that he can be the authority on these issues from now on.

In other words, Aboriginal People are 'allowed' to have their culture, the Government will even help promote it, as long as it fits within their little box of what is accceptable looking culture, other wise Aboriginal People will lose all their rights for self determination.

If this was any other country, there'd be an outcry.

If I were you I would write to Gavin Jennings and tell him what a racist prick he is (constructively of course), and then I would write to Steve Bracks and tell him not to leave Thwaites in charge ever again.

UPDATE: The Camp Sovereignty response is here, should have linked this earlier, apologies. 

Camp Sovereignty website

Camp Sovereignty now has it's very own website. It's still under construction apparently, but there's enough there to get a fair idea about what's been going on. And some great photos!

Check it out

Camp Sovereignty

Well, it's pretty full on down there for those of you living in a vacuum (or in another country).  We've had stacks of visitors, including none other than Mr Michael Franti yesterday!
Please go to the Herald Sun website and vote on their poll (a yes vote would be advisable). 

And if you've got time tomorrow, be on site at 2.

Fantastic. 

Camp Sovereignty Update

Below is the update from Camp Sovereignty about the eviction notice that got served today. See y'all tomorrow!

**Welcome to the 1st Camp Sovereignty E-Bulletin for vistors to the Stolenwealth Games & friends of the Black GST* *

As many of you will have seen on tonights news, negotiations with the government to make Camp Sovereignty a permanent healing & cultural site have broken down. The Melbourne City Council has given us until 4pm this Monday to leave the Kings Domain (under Activities Local Law 1999). Camp Sovereignty Elders Robbie Thorpe, Robbie Corowa & Uncle Kevin Buzzacott are inviting all supporters to the camp to uphold aboriginal sovereignty in a peaceful manner.

Tomorrows timeline is:

11am – Press Conference
2pm – Sovereignty Workshop – hear why indigenous sovereignty is so important in the present cultural climate.
4pm – Notice to Comply Eviction deadline expires.

How will this play out in the media? What last minute maneuvers do Robbie and crew have in mind? Of course they all sound interesting! Will your smiling face be part of it? We hope so…..how long will it be until Victorians (& Australians) have a better opportunity to make the Gov realise how much this haunts our conscience?

Looking through the entries from the Visitors Book we made a guess that between 10,000 -15,000 people have visited Camp Sovereignty so far. For many it was the first occasion to be Traditionally welcomed into this country and see indigenous culture at work in a practical way. Of the colourful characters who have visited, many came with a specific purpose – to touch on indigenous sirituality through the Sacred Fire, drink Sovereign-Tea or hear the grassroots stories of indigenous people. Others had direct skills to offer; some were street lawyers, others were architects offering to design the Cultural Centre and office portables in an eco-friendly way. Local Police reported a reduction in street incidents as the presence of traditional law in the region felt there was recognintion in their law and culture brought a sense of reasoning amongst the indigenous community. 100's of tourists got to visit and experience indigenous culture in a realistic, unstaged manner, getting an insight into the natural flows of indigenous life – sure to inspire stories for years to come. We even had State Ministers, City Councilors and Mr John So (he's our bro!) visiting camp. So, Where the Bloody Hell Are Ya Bracks?

With all these positives the government must look at the big picture. How many reports, how many committees and inquiries does the government need to make on Indigenous Issues? When will they realise that *land is the only medicine*? Here is a claim for indigenous sovereignty over a central piece of land. This would deliver only the 4th site aboriginal people have had returned in Victoria. The other 3 are all in remote areas that cost time and money to get to. Here is a perfect way for the non-indigenous to make an offer of substance. The Victorian Government should be desperate to reverse the fact that Victorian Aboriginals were recently judged by the UN as having the 2nd worst quality of life in the entire world. This is an issue that must be resolved.

Now that ATSIC has been culled, ANTaR has lost its funding and the future of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy (Canberra) is uncertain,
indigenous people desperately need an uncompromising voice. With over 50 different International newspapers, TV stations and radio stations having covered the Stolenwealth Games & the Black GST issues, this campaign has been an overwhelming success. We hope you can stay involved as the ongoing campaign for Genocide to be stopped, Sovereignty to be recognised and Treaty to be made continues.

If you cant make it, see if you can adapt the attached 'Sovereignty Support letter' and send it to any of the politicians listed.

This Friday sees the expiry of the 28 day notice to the Queen to address these issues. Let's see how that one pans out!

Finally, for those of you who can't make it to Camp but are bursting to do something to help. We've copied a letter at the bottom of this email which you can forward on to all the relevant politicians. Please send it in!

we hope to see you tomorrow
Camp Sovereignty
To: lordmayor@melbourne.vic.gov.au, frabri@melbourne.vic.gov.au,
petecla@melbourne.vic.gov.au, carjet@melbourne.vic.gov.au,
cathng@melbourne.vic.gov.au, fiosne@melbourne.vic.gov.au,
davwil@melbourne.vic.gov.au, premier@dpc.vic.gov.au, gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au

Honourable representatives,

Please recognise this correspondence in support of Camp Sovereignity and its maintenance at its current location.

The indigenous people of Australia has suffered extraordinary crimes at the hands of their occupiers, of which I am sure most of you are well aware. Today, because of their dispossession of land and resources, their life expectancy, health, education and employment are at levels unbecoming for an advanced industrial nation such as ours.

The camp in its current location is merely a gentle reminder and a symbolic claim to an equitable share of land and resources to the
original custodians of this land. Do not dishonour the City of Melbourne by forcible removing people who have every right to remind us of their claims to justice.

Yours sincerely,

Sound bite of the day

"The Australian Federal Police takes seriously all allegations of misconduct by officers, and does not condone the use of psychics in security matters."

he he. The story isn't that interesting, but shit that quote cracked me up!

What else? Oh, everyone's favourite Mayor paid a visit to Camp Sovereignty on Friday night. Much to the delight of the journo that got the scoop on the story!

Hamilton proves once again how truly cool a place it is..

And quite possibly one of the most amusing Google spoofs I've seen in a while…

Camp Sovereignty – Raving Success

Well, that had to be about one of the most fun fortnights of my whole life!

The Black GST had a few key objectives of the campaign (and a few other minor ones) and they were all met.

Firstly, the objective of the campaign was to put the Queen on notice that as sovereign head of Australia, she was ultimately responsible for the historical greivances and future negotiations between the state of Australia and the indigenous people. This was acheived. Legal notice was delivered to the Queen on the Thursday morning after the opening ceremony that she had 28 days to instruct the Australian Government to:

Instruct the Australian Government to introduce legislation to the Senate to Recognise Sovereignty for Indigenous People in Australia;

Instruct the Australian Government to begin negotiations on her behalf for Treaty between the Australian Government and Indigenous Nations;

If the Queen doesn't comply with this legal notice, charges of genocide will be filed against her with the International Criminal Court.

Secondly, we had a campaign objective of drawing international attention to the issues of genocide, sovereignty and treaty in Australia. This was acheived. Camp Sovereignty NZ Embassy Solidarity Black GSTreceived coverage in just about every country on the planet, including some pretty major media including the BBC, Reuters, Pravda (Russia) and primetime TV coverage in New Zealand. There was also a solidarity event held outside the Australian Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand (more photos).

Thirdly, we had an objective of bringing people together to discuss the three issues. This was acheived. We had an awesome convergence with an incredibly diverse range of people coming to visit and support the camp. We were overwhelmed with support for the camp, even having to turn some offers of supplies away! And there was some great demonstrations of solidarity and support for the camp including the ANTaR Stolenwealth Letters action, the "Where the bloody hell are ya Bracksy?" demo, the BHP demo and the CSI – Cooks Cottage investigation.

Finally we wanted to spark debate on the unresolved fundamental legal issues in Australia. This was acheived. In almost every paper I read during the Games there was a letter about the issues, everywhere I went people were talking about the Camp and what it was about, web forums were abuzz with the issue. And there was even another opinion piece in the Herald Sun from Paul GrayPolice visit sacred fire discussing the term Stolenwealth. While it was a misinformed piece and based on fundamentally flawed assumptions, at least it was constructive debate, which has been sadly lacking in this country.

So I would say progress has been made. The world is paying a little bit more attention and locally, more attention is being paid and more attempts to understand the true history of Australia are being made.

My highlights of the last couple of weeks were:

  1. The wonderful presence for the Queen. Especially when the Police allowed Uncle Max and Wayne Thorpe over the barrier to do smoking ceremony, and the two kids to join the line up to greet the Queen with gum leaves.
  2. The joy of setting up camp and having the first (of many) Police come through the fire
  3. Meeting the Team Manager of the Cayman Islands who saw us on the news and just had to come find us!
  4. Watching the nazis sprinting off at the first sign of Police (really, I thought they had more conviction in their beliefs!).
  5. The kids at camp
  6. Uncle Kevin's Buzzacott's jokes
  7. The smiles on all the faces after the came through welcome ceremony
  8. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs not batting an eyelid when we slipped it into conversation that we weren't going anywhere after the Games – truly Gavin, we do love you, we might not show it, but we do!
  9. The day the BBC arrived on site…
  10. And finally being a part of history. I have too many special memories to list here but the feeling of strength and solidarity that I experienced at Camp Sovereignty will live on in my heart forever.

So to wind this post up, for those wanting to continue their involvement and to hear more stories of Camp Sovereignty, there's plenty of upcoming ways to get involved. See you on Sunday..

1. Black GST Stolenwealth Games Campaign Victory – meeting and celebration
As promised last newsletter, we would like to announce the time, date and venue of a public meeting and celebration to mark the completion of the Black GST 'Stolenwealth Games' campaign – the first major campgain in an ongoing struggle.

6pm Sunday April 2nd, Trades Hall Bar, Trades Hall, Carlton (corner Victoria and Lygon Sts)

All Indigenous people and Supporters are invited to come along and hear speeches, reflections, and see some photos, press clippings and video footage from the past 2 weeks. Also a chance to hand over copies of footage and photos and clippings we may not have yet.

2. Permanent presence at Camp Sovereignty
Camp Sovereignty, in its own right, is now a permanent presence in King’s Domain. Below is a list of needed items, if people would like to know how to continue to support Camp Sovereignty staying strong. So far reports are it’s feeling real solid. During the day its business as usual.
• Wood
• Eucalypt branches for the Sacred Fire ( just ask the tree before taking from it )
• Food – Bread Milk Fruit Eggs Meat …
• Ice – don’t bring perishable foods without also bringing ice please!
• Candles, camp lights, couple more torches, batteries
• Tobacco
• Solar Powered Generator (*someone offered one at some stage?)
• or Small generator
• Nice chairs for elderly custodians and guests
There’s also flag, banner and sign making to be done, if folk wanna help.

Pop in to make contact and drop off donated goods and provisions. Visit at King’s Domain, just off St Kilda Road near the NGVi and Victoria College of the Arts.

Black GST Solidarity Day

BLACK GST
Solidarity Day
Tuesday 21 March

The Black GST invites all Traditional Owners, Indigenous people, Supporters and media to our solidarity day at Camp Sovereignty

12pm: Ceremony (Inc Carolyn Briggs, Boon Wurrung)
BBQ lunch
Panel (on the Black GST – Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty)

21 March: UN International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination

Camp Sovereignty, Kings Domain (off St Kilda Road, behind Myer Music Bowl – look out for flags and tents). Please visit info and media tent upon entry. Thankyou! If you can’t make it, please send a message of solidarity to blackgstcrew@gmail.com

Solidarity Day Flyer

Off camping…

I guess I won’t be posting much over the next couple of weeks, there ain’t a hell of a lot of internet access in Kings Domain.  I suggest you keep an eye on the Black GST and Stolenwealth Games websites instead.

And those of you in Melbourne, get your asses down there at 11 tomorrow!

This is going to be fun!

Stolen or Sharing Wealth?

Thought I should share this one from Scoop.

Stolen or Sharing Wealth?

By Rayna Fahey

The 2006 Commonwealth Games is an opportunity for Australia to showcase its success and wealth to the rest of the former British Empire. Such spectacles can only be held in economically secure locations and are only successful when a vibrant local culture is able to hold the festival up and make it shine. The financial benefits for cities that host these extravaganza are huge. As Commonwealth Games Minister Justin Madden said “It’s the best thing we’ve ever done. We’ll be displaying to the world what we’re best at, in sport, in festivities, in celebration and unity”.

Unfortunately for Minister Madden, the last point is under major debate.

For the Indigenous people of Australia, the Games is a symbol of an undeclared war on their land and against their people. The Aboriginal people – being the oldest known human culture on this planet – have been persecuted by the policies of the Government and ultimately, the British Monarch for over two centuries. For a 40,000 plus year-old culture, it can hardly be surprising that lots of people would be more interested in having words with the Queen while she’s here, than getting excited about a bunch of sweaty, lycra-clad athletes. The Games are a symbolic demonstration of everything the Commonwealth and former Empire stand for; physical conquest over others for glory and power. The only difference is, with the Games there are strict-yet fair rules which are firmly enforced.

When Captain Cook left England to conquer new land in the name of the King, he did so with explicit instruction to negotiate with people found in distant lands for the acquisition of land. Captain Cook directly disobeyed this order in Australia, defying the highest human authority of his people, and to this day has not been brought to account. Cook completely disregarded the spiritual laws that had been governing this continent for millennia and set about beginning one of the worst free-for-all land grabs in the history of colonisation.

Unlike most Commonwealth countries, there was no legal Treaty signed with any Aboriginal Nation. Ironically, the only known Treaty to be drafted and signed in Australia happened in Melbourne, on initiative of one John Batman. However Batman had no sovereign authority and the Crown quickly nullified that document. No attempt to make Treaty has been made since.

Which brings the issue back to the current Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. Under international law, treaties for land must be signed between sovereign nations and until Australia becomes a republic, that sovereignty remains with the Queen. No surprises then that the Victorian Traditional Land Owners gave unanimous support to a Sacred Fire Treaty Circle to be established in Melbourne during her visit. And no surprises that people from all over Australia representing the Aboriginal Nations are travelling to Melbourne to see her.

Queen Elizabeth knows there are serious issues to address here. In correspondence since her last visit she confirmed she was aware of the issues and was keeping an eye on the situation here, but at that stage wasn’t prepared to intervene. Since that time, the legal situation in Australia has dramatically changed, most significantly with the adoption of anti-genocide legislation.

The legal definition of genocide includes mass murder, the denial of basic-needs services and intentional attempts to assimilate members of one group into another. Many people would like to deny the existence of criminal genocide in Australia, often using the justification that while it may have happened in history, the past is the past and we’ve moved on. However late last year the Prime Minister was quoted as saying that if the Aboriginal people wanted to get anywhere in this world, they had no choice but to assimilate. This statement was an act of criminal genocide under definition of Australian law and no-one blinked an eyelid.

This upcoming visit from the Queen is her first opportunity to step on Australian soil since these laws came into effect, and it is time she intervened. She must give clear direction to John Howard to make serious steps towards reconciliation. An apology is needed now, and negotiations towards Treaty must begin between sovereign nations, before Australia can begin to move on, as most other Commonwealth Nations have.

The Crown and the Government of Australia have an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that they do understand the basic legal issues surrounding the unfinished business in this country. At the moment there isn’t even a brief flicker of recognition of these concepts in their eyes. The Commonwealth Games will be as much a competition between the various Nation States that exist on this land for historymaking as it will be for the athletes. The question of whether this issue is of enough importance to the various visiting dignitaries will decide whether this is indeed a celebration of unity for Australia.

Let’s hope it is.

*************

Rayna Fahey is a supporter of the Black GST and decolonisation and Treaty activist formerly from Aotearoa New Zealand.

www.blackgst.com

www.stolenwealthgames.com