National Aborigines Week


By Tracy Sorensen

SYDNEY — New South Wales National Aborigines Week activities will be launched at the Town Hall on September 2 with speeches by Aboriginal community leaders and federal Aboriginal affairs minister Robert Tickner. Aboriginal speakers will include Millie Ingram, from the NSW Office of Aboriginal Affairs and Chris Williams, chairperson of the National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC).

The speeches will be followed by a march to Martin Place, a rally and music by Aboriginal bands.

Other activities during the week include the presentation of national awards, a baby competition, Aboriginal art and music displays and a "Miss NAIDOC '91" quest.

The week will close with the National Aborigines Week Ball at the Blacktown Civic Centre at 7.30 p.m. on Sunday, September 8, which will feature two Aboriginal bands and the Narara Dancers.

National Aborigines Week has been criticised by some in the Aboriginal community for being too mainstream. Many in the Redfern community, for example, celebrated Aboriginal culture in an unofficial week of activities earlier this year.

Public access radio station 2SER FM will mark the week by hosting a live studio discussion and debate on its Think Tank program on "Aboriginal Reconciliation — On Whose Terms?" on September 4 at 6 p.m.

The program will be hosted by Aboriginal broadcaster Graham Davis from the Ngiyaampaa Language Nation. It will range over issues raised by the federal government's proposed "Instrument of Reconciliation", under which 20 "prominent Australians" will consider reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians over the coming 10 years.

Davis told Green Left Weekly that his own view was that the government's proposal was simply about placating Aboriginal people for another 10 years and was "a waste of taxpayers' money."

"Aboriginality is key", he said. "I think that's what non-Aboriginal society has to come to terms with. They have to respect us as the indigenous, core population. Strengthening our culture is the most important thing for the Aboriginal community, and we have to do that through our children."