Indigenous and Aboriginal People’s Day

Politics and Feminism

The celebration of the Indigenous People’s Day in USA left me thinking about the treatment of our Aboriginal People of Australia. There is no secret that Aboriginal people in Australia have been discriminated against. Since the moment I arrived in Sydney I was saddened by the aboriginal elders selling their beautiful art in the middle of Circular Quay. For nothing. Performing for an avid public who gave no crap about them. Who thought they were clowns.

I later worked for the NSW Government in the area of justice, which main focus was to give a voice to vulnerable populations, especially when the drafted policies affected them. I must say a lot of policies did, and despite our input nothing usually changed. There has been some recognition to their suffering, a kind of partial acknowledgement of the Stolen Generations, for example. But they continue to be ostracized. They live in the periphery, they are likely to be victims of domestic violence in greater numbers than white populations, they are incarcerated way more often. Two or three years ago there was a scandal about the treatment of aboriginal youth inside juvenile centres that actually became true places of torture. A recent study found that people think of them as ‘alcoholics’ and ‘thieves’ who cannot manage to integrate into society. People don’t realize that the opportunities for that integration are still not strong enough to help them do that. They must think, as it is, that a positive discrimination —for example the encouragement to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to apply to public jobs— is all what they need. But, Do they get these jobs? Are they truly involved in the making of policies that affect them? Are they going to survive as what they are, the traditional custodians of the land? Or in the forced integration into society are their traditions going to perish? Every time we started any meeting at the NSW Government we payed our respects to the Aboriginal People of Australia with this acknowledgment. I am not sure if we meant it, I am not sure why they were not there working with us for a better life.

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