True Stories : 002

True Stories : 002.

Reflections: 40 years on from the 1967 Referendum – Page 73

Perpetual grief by Brian Butler

In recognition of the pain, grief and trauma inflicted on the Aboriginal Nations of Australia by the onset of colonisation by the British and all who followed. The mass destruction of the Aboriginal race by the colonisers who killed our people in order to occupy Aborigine’s country: the continent of Australia. Thousands of cases of inhumane acts and practices annihilated our nations and slaughtered our people. Examples of this were the Elliston massacre, the Coniston Station massacre and poisoning of waterholes on the Dreaming tracks and major tribal ceremonial sacred sites across the Australian landscape from one end to the other.

In my opinion the 1967 Referendum did not ease the pain for our people. For instance the parliaments of Australia did not amend their constitutions in any way that gave total recognition to the Aboriginal race.

Most things done for Aboriginal people were just tokenistic and nothing was done by the greater society to outlaw racism. I have ingrained in me zero tolerance towards colonisation of any race of peoples from any part of the world. I deplore assimilation that kills off the race of peoples by dictatorial countries the way the British crushed the Aboriginal nations of Australia.

I have zero tolerance towards the abolition of bilingual education in our schools that worked on our children in the assimilation policy of Australia.

I have indelible memory scars about the horrid rapes endured by my grandmother by the police troopers from Arltunga east of Alice Springs. Nanna Liza was at great pains to tell of her abuse when she was a girl. Nanna was forced to kill her newborn baby by smothering and then burying her in the creek bed at Wipe out, a place not far from Arltunga; this name she muttered on her deathbed.

Then followed the stealing of the children and the screaming separations of babies from mothers. Equally as horrid was when the miners from Arltunga enticed the Aboriginal men to go down in the mines only to have a stick of dynamite thrown down behind them. After the men were killed, the miners would then rape the women and girls left behind in the camps.

Do I think the Referendum eased the pain?

The world may ask …


0 thoughts on “True Stories : 002

  1. Well Brian if we only got voting rights under the 1967 Referendum, but it open doors to other things, what rights will we really have under this constitution, and the sad part about it we have another Referendum and shouldnt that be automatic now, migrants and immigarants got more rights under the constitution then us, especially if you come from Western or European counties. The wider community’s attitudes, values and beliefs are worse then they have ever been and our communities as whole are going backwards, its ok for us educated mob, but even we struggle at times with the current political climate. However, I do believe in change and all the great things our people have achieved in the past and present, but we the ones having to always make the changes, while others continue along the same line. Comments like we need to move on and get over it and we need to be positive, we have done all of that. But unfortuately the Australian public is in the same place because they still judge us by their colonial attitudes, values and beliefs, still paint with the same brush because they had a bad experience. What difference is it really going to make, if we are going to be apart of the constitution we have to go the whole way not bits ad pieces and here and there because too many of or people are being left behind and the gap is getting wider and wider.

  2. Brian and Colleen, I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you and your families carry. I can only offer the feeble consolation that through Indigenous art, mainstream Australians are beginning to take an active interest in Indigenous culture, and consequently, are beginning to ask more questions about the real history of Australia and the effects this has had on Indigenous people up to contemporary times. I have seen time and again the power of art to transform the hearts and minds of the clients I deal with; within their networks they are beginning to challenge racist values and assumptions. We want to see the gap close. Compassion, I believe, is the key. Politics has failed.

    Thank you for sharing part of your story, Brian.

  3. Invasion and destruction is the true face of human beings. The humanity has sufferred everywhere in the world, under the invaders/raiders and occupiars. In India, we are not permitted to say that we were under occupation of Mughals for 300 years before british succeeded them for another 200 years. The fact that most sections accept the fact of atrocities to the aboriginals in Australia, is the only progress. But we can not change the past and pain associated with it. It would be better if we change today with one step at a time and with specific suggestions. This would be the right forum to suggest the changes that should be made today. All the best.

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