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 received 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 Gray 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:
- 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.
- The joy of setting up camp and having the first (of many) Police come through the fire
- Meeting the Team Manager of the Cayman Islands who saw us on the news and just had to come find us!
- Watching the nazis sprinting off at the first sign of Police (really, I thought they had more conviction in their beliefs!).
- The kids at camp
- Uncle Kevin's Buzzacott's jokes
- The smiles on all the faces after the came through welcome ceremony
- 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!
- The day the BBC arrived on site…
- 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.
• 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
• 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.