“At the end of the day,” Bella Bropho of the Swan Valley Nyungah Community told Green Left Weekly, “we want that land returned to us.”
She was referring to the Lockridge camp site which was home to the community until it was closed by the Western Australian government in 2003.
Despite the closure, the community has maintained a continuous connection with the site and still meets there every week.
At 5pm on June 10, government contractors moved in to remove fences and “desecrate” vegetation that was planted by community members.
“Our ancestors' graves are now open to desecration,” Bropho said.
These are the latest moves by the government against the community after the March 19 bulldozing of houses and other buildings at the site.
The Gallop government used the pretext of allegations of sexual abuse at the community to close it in 2003. This resulted in homelessness for a number of members of the Swan Valley Nyungah Community that persists in some cases to today.
Bropho claims a direct familial connection to the site going back to the 1700s. She said some of her family members have died due to homelessness since to the 2003 closure.
Notwithstanding more than a decade of campaigning to regain access to their community homes and the March 19 destruction, there were further moves on June 10 without any consultation with the community.
Bropho said the Liberal government is acting in violation of the Aboriginal Heritage Act.