|Voting has opened for First Nations Assembly
The Assembly is set to be formed later this year and will be the first of its kind in Australia. More than 75 Aboriginal Victorians have nominated for the Assembly. Voting closes on 20 October. Click here to find out how to vote online and where you can vote in person.
Read more about the historic vote here.
National Treaties Summit Announced
ANTaR, the National Native Title Council and the University of Melbourne have announced that a National Treaties Summit will be held in Melbourne from 16-18 April 2020.
This landmark Summit will bring together First Nations representatives, leading academics and politicians from across Australia to participate in a conversation, building further momentum towards a national Treaty.
See more and book tickets here.
Victoria’s roads authority grants temporary reprieve for ancient Djab Wurrung trees
Last month Djab Wurrung women led hundreds of protesters, including Indigenous Senator Nova Perris protested, outside the Victorian parliament house.
Following the protests Major Roads Projects Victoria agreed not to perform any major works until mediation with the Traditional Owners took place.
Djab Wurrung embassy supporters continue to protect the sacred trees under threat from an expansion of the western freeway.
Protesters and Indigenous groups have occupied the site for more than a year in an attempt to get the construction halted.
Latest news here and here.
The Fred Hollows Foundation launches a $40 million plan to stop Indigenous blindness
Indigenous Australians currently go blind at three times the rate of other Australians and are 12 times more likely to have cataracts.
The Fred Hollows Foundation has launched a $40 million plan to combat this alarming statistic, as well as train Aboriginal-controlled health services to deliver eye care to their communities.
In a step towards self-determination, The Foundation plans to create an Indigenous workforce of 130 people, training them to do initial screenings as well as recruiting optometrists and ophthalmologists.
The foundation plans to triple the number of cataract surgeries to 3000 a year and it will do more than 55,000 more eye checks a year.
Learn more here.
Twelve-Year-Old Arrernte boy is the latest to address the United Nations about youth incarceration
“I am cheeky, but no kid should be in jail.”
In Australia, children as young as 10 can be placed in detention, almost exclusively affecting Aboriginal youth. Close to 100% of youth in detention in the Northern Territory are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
On the 10th September, 12 year old Arrernte activist, Dujuan Hoosan, spoke to members of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, appealing for Council Members and the Australian Government to end the imprisonment of children like himself. You can see Dujuan’s speech here.
Two years ago, after an altercation with the police, Dujuan nearly ended up in jail. A documentary telling Dujuan’s story, In My Blood It Runs, will be released in cinemas in February next year. Dujuan has invited PM, Scott Morrison, to view In My Blood It Runs and discuss the failures of youth detention in Australia.
International organisations and the United Nations have repeatedly urged Australia to raise the age of criminal responsibility. This month the committee on the rights of the child chastised Australia for refusing to implement these ongoing recommendations. The committee has released a general comment that the age of criminal responsibility should be minimum 14 years old and the age of detention should be minimum 16 years old.
Earlier this year, doctors, lawyers and health and human rights experts called on the government to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years to end the abuse of children in custody and ensure that primary school aged children are not involved in the criminal justice system.
Despite research and ongoing campaigns, such as Justice Reinvestment, showing that crime prevention is more cost effective and socially constructive then a tough-on-crime attitude, there has been very little move from the Australian government and most state governments to invest in crime prevention and rehabilitation of offenders.
Deaths in Custody Continue
An investigation into the death of Yorta Yorta woman, Tanya Day, has concluded that Day’s life would have been saved, had police followed protocol.
Following the investigation, her family urged the court to release footage of the hours when Day was held in a police cell so that her death does not remain invisible like that of so many First Peoples.
On the other side of the country, Joyce Clarke, a 29-year-old Yamatji woman, was shot outside her home in Perth, WA and died soon after in hospital this month.
Questions have been raised over the WA police’s decision to use lethal force. Up to a hundred people protested at the Geraldine police station on 18th September.
Wednesday 2 October, 6:30pm-8pm
The annual gathering of the Kulin Nations will once again mark the start of the Melbourne International Arts Festival.
This traditional ceremony brings together the people of the Wurundjeri Woi wurrung, Boon Wurrung, Taungurung, Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung nations of the Eastern Kulin Nations.
Find out more here.
Aboriginal Food and Medicine Plants of Macedon Ranges – talk and walk
Sunday 13th October, 10am-12pm
Riddells Creek, Victoria
Learn about Aboriginal use of local plants as both food and medicine, under the tutelage of Uncle David Wandin. Find out more here.
Corroboree by Full Moon
Sunday 13 October, 7:30pm-9pm (Gates open at 5:30pm)
Beginning at sunset, this event will feature local Wadawurrung dancers as well as dancers from the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Ballarat.
Part of the annual Gnarrwirring Ngitj/Learning Together Program, the performance presents an opportunity to learn about the region’s 50,000 plus year history and how we can all play a part in caring for Country.
For more information click here and here.
Thursday 17 October, 6:30pm-8pm
Dr Lou Bennett delivers the Lin Onus Oration 2019: Sovereign Language Rematriation
Grant Street Theatre, Southbank
Dr Lou Bennett’s project, ‘Sovereign Language Rematriation’ examines the effect of indigenous led research for the task of rejuvenating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Her project involves collaborative processes of Indigenous song arrangement, composition and notation to develop Song Pedagogy for language retrieval. Dr Lou is a Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman.
Register for this free event here.
ANTaR Victoria Annual General Meeting
Saturday 26 October, 12:30pm-4:30pm
Edinburgh Gardens Community Room, Fitzroy North
The AGM is a chance to reflect on what we have achieved this year and where we are going in the future. As in previous years, you get two for the price of one as Reconciliation Victoria’s AGM will explore their activities throughout the year
The respective AGMs will be followed by a forum discussing activism, self determination and justice in the modern era. There is more information to come.