Friday, July 06, 2007

'Why warriors lie down and die' - or 'how the new paternalism looks much like the old'

A reader of this blog (thanks Eilleen) has brought to my attention a book by Richard Trudgen. One can find info on the book on the ARDS website:

"The book “Why Warriors” looks at why the Yolngu (Aboriginal) people of north-east Arnhem Land face the greatest crisis in health and education since European contact. Of course it is easy to point to problems but hard to find answers..."

It is beholden upon right thinking Australians to challenge the racist paternalism of the past, to acknowledge the damage done over generations, and to stop electing politicians that perpetrate simple-minded 'white fella' solutions to complex problems.

Another article worth reading is by Rick Kuhn in the Canberra Times:

"...Underlying problems like child abuse in Aboriginal and, for that matter, other communities, is a lack of resources and power. So far, the Government has eroded resources available to Aborigines, while attacking their capacity to control their own lives.

The "new paternalism" looks a lot like the old paternalism, when indigenous people were pushed around by "Protectors of Aborigines", local bureaucrats and church appointed administrators on reserves or mission stations.

A priority of yesterday's paternalists was often to provide low-paid Aboriginal workers for domestic labour, pastoral and agricultural industries.

The new paternalists are taking steps to provide cheap and uncomplicated access to that recently reinstated Aboriginal asset land.

The Government thought that widespread prejudices against indigenous Australians could be mobilised to justify controlling their lives in ways that would be unacceptable for anyone else, at least until this precedent was set..."

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