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Manual Power, Culture, Economy: Indigenous Australians and Mining

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Journalists don't hang out in Pilbara towns to write stories about finding 35,year-old artefacts or dried-up water-holes. Papers don't put them on the front page. What this mining registrar does or doesn't do will affect every one of us. May they have their day in court. May we be sufficiently interested to read about it. May we care about the outcome. It's our country, too. If there's one thing that the recent election campaign and its outcome demonstrated, it's the depth of the divisions that exist in our Australian community. Our politics is focused on point-scoring, personalities, and name-calling across party lines.

The media, for the most part, don't help, driven by the hour news cycle and the pursuit of advertising dollars into a frenzy of click-bait and shallow sensationalism. Eureka Street offers an alternative. It's less a magazine than a wide ranging conversation about the issues that matter in our country and our world; a conversation marked by respect for the dignity of ALL human beings. Importantly, it's a conversation that takes place in the open, unhindered by paywalls or excessive advertising. And it's through the support of people like you that it is able to do so.

An excellent read. I feel that it is relevant for people everywhere who are confronting the inevitable force of the mining companies. For example, on the Darling Downs where I live the rural community is trying to deal with the expansion of existing coal mines and prevent the development of new ones.

Indigenous people power challenges mining might

Joshua Anderson 22 September Moira, many thanks for the clarity and identification of the magnitude of this problem. It raises some fundamental issues of what it means to be Australian. Sadly when Indigenous David meets the Big Australian the moral balance is vulnerable to rubbery legislation. As a geologist, I can hardly imagine the forces that will be rolled out under the guise of 'national economy'.

Aboriginal culture & heritage

In our national conscience, how do we ensure morality and economy co-exist? Jim Bowler 22 September I doubt that the Registrar and subsequently governments will find this a difficult decision to make; nor will it take more than a few spin doctors to provide the rationale to the public. But the cost: to the lives of local people, to the environment and to our collective conscience, are unacceptably high. For just once, could not the dollar be treated in the way that we have so often treated minority peoples: smile at it indulgently, and tell it that "you have been considered and will be respected, but will lose out on this particular occasion.

Nevertheless, appropriate consultation will continue to take place. I have many Indigenous friends whose country falls within the Hope Downs agreement. I have watched their despair when negotiating with BHP Billiton. The greed of this company is so profound. They do not care about the social,emotional, physical and spiritual impacts of their mining practices. They practice tokenism and company image crap.

BHP Biliton. Still a dirty dusty mining town, just like when I visited in the sixties. All Australians should take notice of this day in court. Go to it, Martu mob!

Power, Culture, Economy: Indigenous Australians and Mining [Book Review]

The iron won't go away, and maybe later your descendants will find a way to use it, if they want to, without killing the country. Gavan 22 September Dear Moira, Thank you for your thoughtful article. I am more and more concerned about how our attempts at being fair to the first Australians are so often failures because we fail to put ourselves in their shoes. I will be praying that justice may be granted to the Martidja Manyjima people and that we will all learn to value this beautiful country of ours in a way that enriches rather than denudes it.

Thank you again Jean jean Sietzema-Dickson 22 September I am very grateful to Eureka St Magazine for bringing me information about the marginalised and the forgotten. This article concerning the rights of the people of the Pilbara is such an important example.

Mining giants facing Indigenous land rights claim

These issues are not revealed on the popular press in such a concise and clear manner, sometimes owing to space and time and the indication of such injustices are often glossed over for the sake of expediency. Are our our reporters able to follow up on these issues. What a role they have to play in our world.

Indigenous communities, miners and the state in Australia - CDU eSpace

One of great responsibility to all, and one thwart with many difficulties and dangers. I do encourage them to keep pursuing the truth. Many thanks to Moira Rayner for an important and informative article. Bernadette Introna 23 September Congratulations, Moira, on making a complicated legal issue comprehensible to the lay person.

Indigenous Communities, Land Rights and Mining

I'm glad to know you're still fighting for underdogs. Excellent article Moira. Thanks to Eureka St for publishing it. Here in the West mining and resource multinationals are given plenty of slack when it comes to their destruction of the environment, harm to heritage, human wellbeing and communities, and particularly their gross indifference to and violation of Aboriginal people's rights and interests. Environmental standards are regularly ignored or brushed under the carpet in the face of multi - million dollar profits and royalties.

In addition to the environmental harm, the social harm and damage to the fabric of communities and the harm to human wellbeing are routinely trivialised or ignored. Or the massive impact on human health resulting from lead poisoning in Esperance or multi chemical exposure from the Wagerup refinery.

Indigenous Australians see the land as more than just a physical space in which they live. Indigenous culture is one of the oldest cultures in the world, ranging from 50,, years old. Throughout this long history, Indigenous Australians have maintained their diverse and rich cultures and languages through oral stories passed from elders to their descendants. The land on which they dwell is filled with those histories and memories. The land and unique natural sites define who they are, how they connect with their families, relatives and other members of the community.

Through Dreamtime, Indigenous Australians traditionally understand the land, animals, plants and rivers were bestowed to them by the Ancestor Spirits. With this gift they perceive the land as sacred because it connects them with their forefathers and history spiritually. Therefore, protection of the land means protection of culture and identity.

Since the arrival of European settlers, from the perspective of Indigenous Australians, the trauma of losing rights and spiritual connection to the land ensued. Their ability to express their culture and identity has been significantly reduced.


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This affects the mental wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. Culture and language are survival mechanisms; they are the key to the continuation of knowledge and existence itself.