Women for Wik

August 27, 1997

Women for Wik

By Angela Walker

ADELAIDE — Several hundred women gathered at Maughan Church on August 16 to endorse the High Court Wik decision and native title rights for indigenous Australians.

The gathering heard four Aboriginal women tell of being stolen from their families and the dislocation, pain and struggle associated with mission life, foster homes and domestic service. The strength they demonstrated in their search for their mothers and their identity was humbling.

Nicola Guerin from Women for Wik spoke of the campaign by Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation to gather 250,000 signatures on a citizens' statement to uphold native title rights for indigenous people and support coexistence of pastoralists and Aborigines.

On the morning of the meeting, the Advertiser ran an article under the headline "Wik women condemned for meeting". It reported accusations by SA Liberal Senator Nick Minchin that the group was "perpetuating gross distortions" of the High Court's Wik decision.

It appears that the Liberal government is concerned that its 10-point plan, which virtually extinguishes native title, may be receiving too much community scrutiny and opposition.

Women for Wik is supported by many prominent South Australians, including former governor Dame Roma Mitchell, Adelaide Lord Mayor Jane Lomax Smith and dance director Meryl Tankard.

A festival for coexistence is planned for September 21, in Peace Park, as part of a national day of action for native title.

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