PEOPLE are invited to participate in a march of solidarity on May 1 for those in Western Australia who are being removed from their Aboriginal communities.
There was an initial well-supported Inverell march on Saturday, April 4, but organiser Jill Wilson said this second event coincides with the national event. People in cities across the country will join in local efforts for the March to Stop the Forced Closure of Aboriginal Communities in Australia.
After the WA government announced their decision to close now up to 150 Aboriginal communities, Prime Minster Tony Abbott supported the decision by with a quote that continues to raise hackles in the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
“What we can’t do is endlessly subsidize lifestyle choices if those life style choices are not conducive to the kind of full participation in Australian society that everyone should have,” Mr Abbott said.
For Jill, it’s too much. She believed the motivation behind some of the closures was for mining interests, and explained people are being given little chance to prepare for their removal. Jill remarked on the irony of this latest removal.
“The reason they’re on the land, those communities in the first place, is because that’s where we were put,” she said.
“And now, they say they can’t afford our lifestyle choices, and that they need to close.”
Vicky Duncan is also joining in the march. She felt that if the WA government could take action to shut down Aboriginal communities, it could happen in any state.
“It’s like assimilation all over again. They’re trying to get them out, so they can mine the land, and then they’ve got to get out and live like the rest of the people,” she said.
Jill said the government does not comprehend the deep ties between indigenous people and country.
“So it’s dreadful to uproot someone that has been on that land for a long time. They have a relationship with that land.”
“It’s in their blood. You can go away, and visit, or live somewhere for a couple years, but you’ll always fret to come home,” she said.
The March will assemble on Friday, May 1 at 10am, weather permitting, at Campbell Park. If the weather is poor, the march will assemble in front of Black Swan Dreaming on Otho Street. A car is available to transport those who need a little help to participate, and will follow up the marchers.