First Peoples nations still struggling for their rights

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UN processes are so slow it took two UN Decades for member states to reach an agreement on the political status of Indigenous rights. After the First International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004) failed to resolve contention over self-determination, the General Assembly had to expand the timeframe with a second UN Decade (2005-2015) under the theme "A Decade for Action and Dignity".

The controversy focused primarily on the practice of Indigenous autonomy - and its implications for state sovereignty. Most member-states reacted to Article 46 insisting that the declaration not be interpreted in any way that could impair the territorial sovereignty of states. Four governments voted against the declaration (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US) out of opposition to the majority's interpretations of sovereignty.

As Indigenous protests gain momentum, most governments fail to practice what they have committed to internationally

Women gather for Cootamundra Girls Home anniversary

ABC Riverina August 10, 2012

Indigenous women and their families from across Australia have started arriving in the Riverina for the centenary of the Cootamundra Girls Home.

Hundreds of girls were forcibly taken from their families and placed at the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Aboriginal Girls between 1911 and 1968, as part of the Commonwealth's assimilation policy. The girls were not allowed to contact their families and were later sent to work as domestic servants.

The governments said children had to be taken away from their parents because the influence of their own communities was immoral and they were in danger of abuse and neglect, but the real agenda then was to de-Aboriginalise them.

Originals fire hunting benefits small-mammals: Research

The Aboriginal Martu people of Western Australia have traditionally set small fires while foraging, leaving a patchwork landscape that proves a perfect environment for bilbies, wallabies, possums and other threatened mammals.

Stanford anthropologists have discovered that when these controlled burns cease, the desert rapidly becomes overgrown – and a single lightning strike can send wildfires tearing through hundreds of square miles of tinder-dry mammal habitat.

The paper, authored by Stanford anthropology Associate Professor Rebecca Bliege Bird, senior research scientist Douglas Bird, postdoctoral scholar Brian Codding and undergraduate Peter Kauhanen, appeared recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UN says not enough community participation in 'Stronger Futures' decision

UN Commissioner Navanethem Pillay
UN's Navanethem Pillay

A letter obtained by AAP under freedom of information laws, from UN Commissioner Navanethem Pillay addressed to Jenny Macklin outlined UN's concerns regarding the proposed legislation.

The United Nations human rights commissioner fears the continuation of a federal government intervention program in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities won't benefit indigenous people.

The Labor government's racist Stronger Futures legislation, passed by parliament in late June, now continues for another 10 long years.

A crime to be proud of First Nations heritage

Indigenous leaders say the Olympic rules that outlaw Aboriginal flags at the Games should change, and have called on the Australian Olympic Committee to lobby for the longstanding protocol to be overturned.

Dual Olympian 110-metre hurdler Kyle Vander Kuyp, former world champion boxer Anthony Mundine, and former politician and activist Phil Cleary - who said recognising both flags at the Games would "affirm our real history and be a major act of reconciliation" - led the voices supporting boxer Damien Hooper who breached International Olympic Committee rules by wearing a T-shirt with the Aboriginal flag on it to competition in London.

"I would love to see the whole country embrace the flag more," Vander Kuyp said.

Representatives of more than 30 nations see Aboriginal affairs at an all-time low

Delegates representing more than 30 nations attended the Sovereign Union gathering in Moree during the weekend (28-29th July 2012). Apart from focussing on important Sovereigty matters they all agreed that Aboriginal affairs is at its all-time low.

Issues such as incarceration rates, growing domestic violence matters, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, child removals and school curriculums, poor housing and low incomes.

These serious issues are further compounded by the forced government programming of 'closing the gap', which is in effect measuring their assimilation objectives, that is, how far they are removing us from our culture and how successfully we have been absorbed into the white one through their reconciliation program.

The Sovereign Union now calls upon our people around this country to stop doing deals and signing away your sovereign rights.

Different world: understanding Indigenous justice


Liam Jurrah

Melbourne Demons star Liam Jurrah is currently appearing in an Alice Springs court, charged with assaulting his cousin, Basil Jurrah, and in case you've been living under a rock, he is a big deal in the AFL and the first Aboriginal man from a Central Deserts community to play in the big league.

The circumstances of the alleged violence are part of a court proceeding, and getting plenty of play in other media.

What defines him is the fact that he is a young Warlpiri man, a freshwater blackfella from the Central Deserts region. His skin name is Jungarrayi, his mother is Corrina, his father is Leo (also a great footballer) and his grandmother is Cecily. From the Warlpiri perspective, those are most of the things that really matter.

That and the fact that notwithstanding football stardom, Liam Jurrah is not excused from his cultural obligations, payback being one of them. - Chris Graham writes

Family demands independent investigation into death in custody in Alice Springs Hospital

The family of Arabana man, Peter Clarke, issued a call today for the Northern Territory Government to launch an independent enquiry into his death in Alice Springs Hospital. He was 56 year old.

Mr Clarke died on Tuesday 3 April 2012. He'd been due for parole on 26 March 2012 but was hospitalised on 19 March.

When Peter Clarke's younger brother Wayne and sister Gladys visited the hospital, they were shocked to find their brother cuffed by the ankle to the hospital bed.

After the death, a doctor told the family a Coroner might need to do an autopsy as the death could be treated as a death in custody. But the death would not be investigated.

13 arrested at the 'Lizard's Revenge' Uranium mine protest

Police have arrested 13 people during an anti-nuclear protest at South Australia's Olympic Dam mine, where activists and officers were involved in two confrontations.

In the first incident two women and four men were taken into custody as they staged a "breakfast not bombs" event on a road near the mine site on Tuesday. Protesters blocked the road.

Police said those arrested, including a 66-year-old NSW man, were charged with either failing to comply with a reasonable direction or loitering.

In the second incident activists again took to a road to play cricket. Six men and a woman were arrested after a scuffle with police.