Jude Kelly invites Kevin Rudd to Tent Embassy

Press Release 26th February 2011


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Jude Kelly 'Sorry Day' 2008

Western Australian Yamatji/Noongar Woman Jude Kelly is inviting Australian Foreign Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, to come to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to have a meeting with her about her recent decision to renounce her Australian citizenship on the 15th February this year.

"Renouncing my citizenship was no easy thing to do. The decision I made took a long time and a lot of thought to come to this," Ms Kelly says.

Ms Kelly came to Canberra for the Apology to the Stolen Generation in 2008 and has since been living at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for the past 2 years helping to maintain the fire and talk to interested visitors about Aboriginal history and dispossession of land and culture.

Not having grown up with her ancestral birth family in the Geraldton Western Australia, Ms Kelly is quite amazed with the lack of Aboriginal history being taught and even more astounded that not many people have even met an Aboriginal in person.

"Australian governments have known that to teach Aboriginal history in Australian schools is to open up a Pandora's box and treasure trove of litigants wanting their inheritance back, long since blocked due to changes in the legal system in the 1700s that made us slaves to savage masters und British military rule. Masters sent by the monarch of the day King George III to insidiously keep us as slaves to a system this is incompatible with Aboriginal culture and people. For all those who deny this, then why were many Aboriginal children kidnapped and not returned to their families, instead of being moved thousands of miles away from ancestral lands and family."

"The Genocide of First Australians, the White Australia Policy, the Stolen Generation have all led me here to carry out the strongest of protests directed towards the Australian government," Ms Kelly explains.

"All things being right after the success of the 1967 referendum, we should have come a lot further than we have. Our standard of living, for one, should have been greatly improved after all these years, but unfortunately a lot of bad state and federal government policies have seen us slip back to pre 1967 conditions."

Examples:

  • Racial discrimination
  • Bad and often fraudulent business deals with mining companies
  • Holding 'Stolen Wages' money rightfully earned by many of our Elders
  • State and local land developers stealing land for the housing and pastoral industries
  • Shocking police and court statistics to keep our people in the Colonial and Military industry of 'lockdown' (prison), frequently resulting in many deaths in custody and spiritual and community loss.
  • Discriminatory practices, such as the Northern Territory Intervention, plus many more dehumanizing policies to get rid of the First Nations of this land
  • ... and many Government Reports that have not gone far enough (on a continuing basis) truthfully and economically for us.

The governments and churches of the past and present have done a bad job, essentially viewing us as the "Aboriginal Problem". We have been and still are the forgotten peoples of this land. Our destinies have been changed and have gone the wrong way. Two cultures have been and still are in conflict with each other over such issues as money, land, mining, education, health and justice. Our cultural and inherent knowledge of this land far surpasses the seductive and wasteful Western culture revolving around money and material possessions.

When natural disasters occur, as we have seen recently in Australia, and all is lost in floods, cyclones, earthquakes, snow storms, mudslides, fires owing to freak weather systems all any of us have is ourselves, family, friends and community - if we survive that is.

Our mob never had permanent buildings. We knew when natural changes were coming. We are weather people, astronomers, astrologist, and close observers of nature and the seasonal changes of the land. The First Peoples were never the derogatory savages past governments perceived us to be since the first days of colonisation and settlement. Perhaps the "savages" were those who came to this land and carried out the most evil and blood curdling acts of inhumanity, the same "savages" who started the cycle of genocide and enslavement of our people.

In my lifetime many of the Elders in all communities could have had a better life if they had been given their wages and equal opportunities. Had of this occurred they could have bought back land for themselves and maybe things could have been so much better?

Perhaps when everyone is living in a tent due to climate change (whether induced by industrial or economic activity or not), when more environmental displacement occurs and when man-made inventions cannot work anymore due to electrical failures and the price of oil and fuels is way too expensive to buy, and perhaps when you have to grow your own food, and hunt and gather over a long period of time, then perhaps you might appreciate what you all have before it goes quickly and quietly, and then perhaps you might understand what it is that is so innate, so strong, so spiritual as being close to the colours and beauty of my land and being Aboriginal First Peoples of the land you call Australia.

Perhaps one day the tables might turn and all people really become equal on equal terms (with tents, fires and food gathering together), then perhaps we can go forward and not keep replicating the unlearnt lessons of the past. You see sometimes you have to go back to go forward.

To conclude, I invite Mr Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister Gillard and other government representatives to visit the Embassy at their earliest convenience.