Yuendumu residents: 'We want self-determination'


On September 29, Harry Nelson, former Yuendumu (Northern Territory) council president, presented Indigenous affairs minister Jenny Macklin with a statement, written in Warlpiri and English, signed by 236 residents. Macklin was in the community to officially open a new pool, the funding of which predates the NT intervention. An abridged version of the statement is reprinted below.

When John Howard and Mal Brough lost their seats, we were happy. But now you are doing the same thing to us, piggybacking Howard and Brough's policies, and we feel upset, betrayed and disappointed.

We don't want this intervention! Children are worse off.

We talked to the [intervention] review board, and now the government is not even listening to the report, and is keeping this intervention going almost unchanged. It is an insult to us.

This is our land. Give it back to us. We want the government to stop blackmailing us. We want houses, but we will not sign any leases over our land. We want to keep control of our country.

We say NO to income management. We can look after our own money.

We want the Racial Discrimination Act reinstated now, not in 12 months.

The government business managers are useless, expensive, and we don't need them. We want our community councils back. We want community control. We don't want more police, we don't want more contractors, we don't want more government people.

Everything is coming from the top down. The government is abusing us with this intervention. We want to be re-empowered to make our own decisions and control our own affairs. We want self-determination.

Yuendumu has a lot of things to be proud of. Our community programs, like the bilingual education program, Warlpiri media, the Old People's program and others should be supported, celebrated, and used as a model for other communities.

We want you to give us respect and dignity, and stop telling lies about our people.

We want the government to listen to us, talk with us, consult with us, and do things the proper way.