On July 14, 2009, the Alyawarr people from Ampilatwatja, three hours' north-west of Alice Springs, walked off their community and set up a protest camp on their traditional homelands.
They have remained there ever since, protesting against the racist measures of the Northern Territory intervention — welfare quarantining, government seizure of Aboriginal land, and other paternalistic policies — and vow they will not return until the laws are repealed and traditional owners are properly consulted with.
The intervention, — supposedly aimed at child protection through, for example, addressing the appalling over-crowding and lack of housing in communities — has failed to provide a single new house for Aboriginal people.
During the first two weeks of February, trade unionists and supporters of Aboriginal rights will be traveling to the Alyawarr protest camp to help the community construct a "protest house", to use as an organising centre for their campaign against the intervention.
* * *
Richard Downs and Alyawarr elders would like to invite Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to the opening of our protest house at lunchtime on February 14 at Honeymoon bore, near Ampilatwatja community.
This is a stand against the federal government's intervention.
The protest house will have been build with the support of trade unions from the NT and around the country, and the general public, to show the governments it does not take more than two years to build one house.
This is also an opportunity for people of all races to come together in unity against racism and discrimination, and to unite for: human rights; Mother Earth; land rights and not native title; and compensation for the Stolen Generation and return of stolen wages.
We stand against incarceration of our people, deaths in custody and climate change.
We want support to stay on our homelands; we do not want to move to the town hubs being created.
We say no to lease "agreements" — our lands are not for sale, lease or to be given away.
We are now joining together as one to stand against racism and discrimination.
Our people will be having a special opening ceremony to show the governments and public we are still here.
For more information, phone Richard Downs on 0428 611 169, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.interventionwalkoff.wordpress.com.
[Green Left Weekly is sending journalists on the protest house brigade, and will report on the project and official opening ceremony.]