|September is the month to get into reading with a range of education based events and dates around the corner!
This Wednesday, 4th September is Indigenous Literacy Day – a day to address the lack of literature and educational resources in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. If you are unsure of how to support Indigenous education check out the Indigenous Literacy Foundation where you can donate books, hold books swaps or simply raised funds. While one day is grand, we decided to support the Foundation for the entire month! If you buy a book from the ANTaR Victoria store for the month of September, $5 will go to the Foundation. Speaking of reading – the annual Blak and Bright Festival will be held in Melbourne over 4 days next week to showcase First Nations writing talent. See events below to get involved and see what’s happening near you!
Education is vital to self determination. It is also the way forward for all of Australia to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – by learning about true history, culture, and stories from the past and ongoing. If you want to hear more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories, keep an eye out for social media and follow news and events of Blak and Bright Festival and the upcoming Fringe Festival.
We hope you have a month of learning, conversation and reading! See our book recomendations on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you have any good reads you’d like to share with us let us know.
From the Team of ANTaR Victoria
Indigenous Literacy Day
Get ready for 4th September! Since 2004 the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has been supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through raising awareness around the education gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, providing books and resources to remote communities and supporting learning in language.
For the month of September $5 from every book sold by ANTaR Victoria will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Check out our book list here.
Victorian Treaty Update
Treaty discussions have been continuing around the state this month and have included discussions held by Reconciliation Victoria, 3KND and local councils in Port Philip, Knox, Hume and Moreland.
Candidate nominations for the First Peoples Assembly have officially closed. Voting will begin 16 September and close 20 October. Once the Assembly has formed it will focus on the forming a structure and negotiation process of Treaty. Aboriginal Victorians can enrol to vote here.
Keep up to date with news and events here.
Djab Wurrung Sacred Trees
As the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy approaches its 14th month, hundreds have travelled to camp at the Embassy to stand in solidarity with the Djab Wurrung people and protect the ancient Djab Wurrung birthing trees. This month the Embassy was given an eviction notice which would come into effect on 21st August. Instead of following the orders, the fight to save the trees has strengthened in numbers.
The 12.5 kilometre stretch of sacred land that the Embassy is trying to protect is home to numerous sacred trees, including an 800 year old tree that has seen over 50 generations born and a 350 old directions tree that has been shaped and hollowed to resemble a woman.
The three-stage project will come at the cost of nearly 3000 mature old trees with nearly 1000 old growth trees set to be chopped down under the current duplication works.
VicRoads has admitted that it destroyed 900 old-growth trees while doing the first stage of duplication between Beaufort to Buangor that finished in 2016, despite initially claiming they would remove only 221.
Zellenach Djab Mara, Lore Man at the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy, says that
“We have lived here on Country for 14 months now, and at the end of the day we’re not going to put up with it, we’re not going to tolerate it. We’re not moving until our sacred lands are protected. Sovereignty was never ceded.”
The Embassy is urging anyone who would like to support the fight against the destruction of these trees to travel to the Embassy and camp. For those who are not able to do this, Djab Wurrung women will lead a rally at Parliament House in Melbourne on Tuesday 13 September, 8:30am-12pm. All are welcome to show support. See here for details.
Find out more here. Keep up to date with the Djab Wurrung Embassy here.
ANTaR Victoria wrote a letter to Hon. Daniel Andrews on Friday. See the letter here.
Gumutj kids on opening night od Garma 2019
The annual Garma Festival took place at Gulkula in Eastern Arnhem Land this year. Consitutional reforms to recognise Australia’s First Nations Peoples and the establishment of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament dominated much of the conversation over the three day festival. The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament that any approah would “have to be very pragmatic. Why would you take a question to the Australian people if the majority will not support it and the majority of the states and territories don’t support it,? ….Every constitution referendum where the question has failed has been sent into permanent retirement. That’s why, if we go on a question of constitutional recognition, we have to get it right … It’s too critical to fail.’ Mr Wyatt added ‘going to look at the pragmatic way forward. We have to be very considered, very measured. But we have to consider all the other options as well.
See highlights from the Garma Festival here.
National Indigenous Music Awards
Spinifex Gum performing at NIMA 2019
The annual NIMA Awards, Australia’s biggest celebration of First Nations music, was held in Darwin this month. There was a stella line up with performances from Archie Roach, Jack Charles, Jessica Mauboy, Dan Sultan, Electric Fields, Deborah Cheetham, Eric Avery and Spinifex Gum.
Winners included Baker Boy who took Artist of the Year, Mojo Juju for Song of the Year and Album of the Year and Kaiit was awarded New Talent of the Year. Briggs took out Film Clip of the Year, and Community Clip of the Year went to fifteen Deniliquin High School students – known as the Deni Mob – for their song State of the Heart. Mambali became the first recipient of the Archie Roach Foundation Award. The Award recognises an emerging artist from the Northern Territory, providing $2000 and mentoring from industry professionals, thanks to a donation from board member and inaugural ambassador Jack Charles.
In other NIMA news, Melbourne-based trio Tiddas and Cairns jazz singer Wilma Reading were inducted into the NIMA Hall of Fame. Find out more about this year’s NIMA here.
The Blak and Bright Festival
5th – 8th September
The annual festival celebrating Australian Indigenous Literature ranging from songs to essay to plays. The festival will run from the 5th – 8th to September at the Wheelers Centre. Find out more here.
Blackie Blackie Brown: The Traditional Owner of a Death
Until 14th August
For lovers of theater and comic art, this play follows a comedic superhero who has a vengeance for the descendants of the men who killed her ancestors. Due to popular demand new seats have been added. Get in quick. Tickets available here.
The Melbourne Fringe Festival
Once again the Melbourne Fringe Festival will feature an array of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, performers and writers. The Festival will officially launch with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony at the Trades Hall. Check out events on the Guide to First Nations Fringe.