The Ampilatwatja Walkoff - Join the Journey

The Ampilatwatja Walkoff - Join the Journey

From: THE JUICE MEDIA | October 25, 2009

"On July 14 2009 we, Elders from the Ampilatwatja community, walked out of our houses and set up camp in the bush. We are fed up with the federal government's Northern Territory Intervention, controls and measures, visions and goals forced onto us from outside. We felt we were outcasts and isolated from all decision making -there has been no meaningful consultation... We therefore have no intention of going back there. We intend to stay here until our demands are met.

I would like to send a personal invitation to all our brothers and sisters, who are leaders and workers in their Aboriginal organisations to come together as one people. I would like to share with you the visions of our leaders and Elders and the path we have chosen to honour the lines of our country, mother Earth, our dreaming and spirituality. Brothers and sisters, we are one and we are part of you. We are all connected through mother Earth. This is the true line we must follow to unite and to bring all our white brothers and sisters on this journey with us. We have many struggles and journeys ahead. The time is now. It is vital that we come together to listen to each other and share our thoughts and ideas on the way forward. What will be the future for our aboriginal people across this country? I look forward to meeting many of you on the tour and hope to create lasting friendships and connections so that we can work towards creating a better future for our younger generations."

Richard Downs,
Alyawarra People, Ampilatwatja Community
Central Australia

During October '09, Ampilatwatja's spokesperson, Richard Downs, conducted a speaking-tour along the east coast of Australia, talking at Universities, Workers' Unions, Indigenous communities and at public rallies in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, raising awareness of the walk-off and appealing for funds to help the walkoff camp to remain self-sufficient.

Accompanying Richard, Warlpiri Elder, Harry Nelson, of the Yuendemu community talked about his own struggle to fight the Government's attempt to force communities in the Northern Territory to sign 40 year leases, thus handing over their lands to Government. The fight against forced land acuiqsitions and leases is also being fought by other town camps, such as Mt Nancy, under the leadership of Barbara Shaw. This video covers footage of Richard and Harry's speaking tour in Melbourne: 14-16 October.

See: Richard and Harry talking at Melbourne University
and an awesome video by Ellie Gilbert of ...
Richard Downs talking at the Ampilatwatja protest camp
... and keep up to date on latest events regarding the walkoff: Intervention Walkoff's Blog

Richard expressed the wish that everyone, white and black, might take part in this journey - explaining that this is not just a call for Aboriginal people to unite, but for all people to regain their Indigenous connection to the land, their ancestors and their dreaming, reclaiming freedom and dignity for ourselves and the planet.

With support from donations, the town camp will set up permaculture, solar panels and sink a bore hole for water. Following 200+ years of colonisation, the Ampilatwatja walk-off represents a renewed call for Indigenous self-determination, autonomy and vision which will inspire all those around the world who are also returning to the land.

BACKGROUND: The 'Commonwealth' has threatened to compulsorily acquire the land if communities refuse to sign the leases. The Commonwealth has given itself the authority to behave in this way through the Emergency Response Legislation (2007) and the suspension of the Racial Discrimnation Act (1975). To date, the current Rudd Government has NOT reversed such legislation or reinstated the RDA. The Intervention was launched in the wake of accusations of widespread 'pedophile rings' and 'rivers of grog'. such claims prove to have been exaggerated as less than a dozen convictions have been made since 2007. No one disputes that an Intervention was necessary: Indigenous communities had been calling for an intervention for the past 25 years! But they had also called for consultation with Indigenous communities in order to deploy culturally appropriate ways of dealing with the problems affecting the remotest communities in Central Australia. The Commonwealth, however, has launched a humiliating policy based on strict welfare control, income management and top-down governance, which are a tragic step back to the days of colonial Australia.

For more info keep looking on the Internet to find other great videos which people are uploading - don't wait for "The News" to inform you! The mainstream media does not want to cover this story, a call for independence, sovereignty and indigenous self-determination (And 'indigenous' includes you, too!)