Indigenous rights

Activist and human rights groups are demanding an investigation into the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado. He has been missing since August 1, when he was last seen being dragged away by Border Patrol agents.

Walking into any souvenir shop in Australia, tourists see the walls lined with Aboriginal designs and artwork. What is less obvious is the fact that most of these items are mass produced in parts of Asia.

Banduk Marika, a Youngu artist, said: “We’re not making those. Indigenous people, even Australians, we’re not making those. Who is making this?”

Aboriginal communities say the answer is corporations.

Two very different exhibitions communicate critical evidence about the Aboriginal experience of the 1967 referendum, through which the Australian constitution was amended to remove the racist provisions of sections 51 and 127.

That victory certainly did not end racism in Australia, but opened up the possibility of a broader, unfinished struggle.

Relatives of Berta Caceres, the iconic Indigenous environmentalist from Honduras who was killed in March last year, denounced on July 26 a "hate campaign" against them.

The environmental activist's family expressed concern about the "most aggressively executed hate campaign" against them after the Dutch Development Bank, FMO and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Finnfund, decided to pull out from the Agua Zarca dam project on the Gualcarque River that flows through the Indigenous territory of the Lenca people.

“Today we mourn the loss of a great Australian, Dr G. Yunupingu who sadly passed away yesterday in Royal Darwin Hospital at age 46 after a long battle with illness,” the singer’s record label Skinnyfish Music said.

“Dr G. Yunpingu is remembered today as one of the most important figures in Australian music history, blind from birth and emerging from the remote Galiwin’ku community on Elcho Island off the coast of Arnhem Land to sell over half a million copies of his albums across the world, singing in his native Yolngu language ...

“In solidarity with Elijah’s family, his community and Kalgoorlie, we stand in protest” was the call by the Aboriginal group Fighting in Solidarity Towards Treaties (FISTT), which organised a rally of about 300 people at the Supreme Court in Sydney on July 24. It was one of a series of protest rallies around the country.

Wiradjuri elder Aunty Jenny Munro asked: “Where is the national outcry for this innocent 14-year-old boy? Where is the justice for the death of an innocent child? There is no justice for a murdered Aboriginal child.

The family of Ms Dhu, who died in police custody in August 2014, is to launch legal action against the state of Western Australia, the police and the Country Health Service. They plan to lodge a claim of misconduct leading to death and a complaint of racial discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Ms Dhu’s uncle Shaun Harris said the claims were about accountability and instigating change. “We need to enforce change, custodial change and reform, not just in Western Australia but Australia wide. Without accountability there will be no justice for my niece.”

South Australian Yankunytjatjara elder and activist Yami Lester, who was blinded as a teenager by dust from the Maralinga nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s, died on July 21 in Alice Springs, aged 75.

His family said his death "leaves an incredible legacy of better global understanding of the devastation of nuclear bombs and for the ongoing battle for recognition of the consequences of them".

The man who ran over and killed Aboriginal teenager Elijah Doughty in Kalgoorlie last August could walk free from jail in seven months.

He was never charged with murder and was cleared of manslaughter by a Supreme Court jury, which convicted him of the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death. He was given a three year jail term but  could be released on parole by February.

Sydney rally condemns Aboriginal deaths in custody

Jim McIlroy

Sydney

The July 19 anniversary of the death in custody of Aboriginal woman Rebecca Maher was marked by a march from Hyde Park to Parliament House. The march also protested the recent death of Indigenous man Eric Whittaker, a prisoner in Parklea Prison. The action was organised by the families and the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA).

The rally condemned the continuing killing of Aboriginal people in police and prison custody, with no one ever convicted of these crimes.

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