Indigenous rights

Members of the family of David Dungay, who was killed by prison officers in Long Bay jail almost two years ago, gathered outside the Coroners Court on November 8 to demand justice and that action be taken against those officers involved in his death.

Speaking to the media, David's mother Leetona said: "After two years, this process has taken too long. We are going to fight this to the end. My son has been cruelly taken away from us, and I am demanding that justice is finally done for him."

A hydroelectric company that environmental activist Berta Caceres had fought, plotted with Honduran military and security forces to kill the Indigenous leader in March 2016, an independent commission has found.

The investigation was carried out by the International Group of Advisors and Expert Persons (GAIPE), comprised of several lawyers from Guatemala, Colombia, Holland and the United States. Its findings were based on dozens of interviews, court records and partial access to evidence provided by government investigators.

Bindjareb Traditional Owners have begun a campaign to rename the Peel region in Western Australia, named after Thomas Peel, a settler who was instrumental in the Pinjarra massacre in which dozens of Aboriginal people, including children, were killed on October 28, 1834.

I don’t know if an opinion poll has ever been done, but a sizeable portion of Australians, perhaps a majority, recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had their land invaded by the British and experienced a systematic genocide.

The fact that this is widely recognised is reflected in the huge protests in response to threats to close remote Aboriginal communities and the response to Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance’s call-out for protests. Even back in 1988, there were 100,000 people protesting the so-called Bicentenary in Sydney.

The Hobart City Council has officially joined the campaign to change the date of Australia Day.

It will also provide support for the annual Invasion Day march, organised by the Indigenous community, and back councillors who take part.

On October 23, the council passed a four-point motion seven votes to two.

It also called on other local governments to lobby the federal government to move Australia Day from January 26.

But it will not stop holding its citizenship ceremonies and celebrations on Australia Day.

Traditional Owners from the Gulf Country in the Northern Territory showed their opposition to fracking  for shale gas outside Origin Energy’s AGM on October 18. The protest was organised by SEED — the Indigenous Youth Climate Network.

Traditional Owner Nancy Hoosan said: “I’m not just talking for myself and my people, I’m talking for everyone. No matter what colour you are or what language you speak, we drink the same water.

“Australian government, listen to us. We don’t want fracking in our country.”

About 500 people took part in the second annual Anti-Columbus Day Tour on October 9 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The Columbus Day public holiday celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.

After an acknowledgement of the ancestral territory of the Lenni Lenape First Nation people, three demands were put forward by those gathered: Rename the day, remove racist statues and respect the ancestors.

The ACT government has declared a Reconciliation Day public holiday on the first Monday on or after the 1967 Referendum anniversary date of May 27, which marks the start of Reconciliation Week.

It is the first time in Australia an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-focused public holiday has been created.

Professor Tom Calma of Reconciliation Australia said he hoped it signalled a shift to celebrating multiculturalism, rather than the proclamation of Australia on January 26.

Members of the family of Ms Dhu, the 22-year-old Yamatji woman who died in custody at the South Hedland watch house in 2014, have received an apology and $1.1 million from the Western Australian government.

The WA Attorney-General said the payment does not prevent the family from pursuing further legal action against the government over Ms Dhu's death in custody.

“This has to be the last death”, Nioka Chatfield, the mother of a 22-year-old Aboriginal man who recently died in custody told a rally in Sydney on September 29.

“I nominate myself. I want to be the last Aboriginal mother crying for my child,” she told the protest that was called on the first anniversary of Wayne Fella Morrison's death in custody and the 34th anniversary of the death of John Pat in Western Australia, which sparked the Stop Black Deaths in Custody movement.

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