Published 1973, by The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia
Requests for permission to quote or translate should be addressed to Secretary, Australia Yearly Meeting, 631 Orrong Road, Toorak, 3142.
National Library of Australia card number and ISBN 0. 909885 03.6.
The origins of this report go back to the memorable conference on "Racism in Australia" organised by the Australian Council of Churches at Southport, Queensland, in November, 1971. That conference was more than memorable for many of its white participants: it was traumatic. To quote from my own report to the Society of Friends (Quakers):
"Several things happened to prevent the conference becoming just another intellectual exercise. Firstly, some Nazi slogans and posters appeared outside. Secondly, the planned Agenda (and the Steering Committee) were voted out in favour of a more intense grappling with the issue of racism in us and the 'system' of which we are part. Thirdly, the Brisbane Tribal Council people demanded that the conference 'put up or shut up' by a public commitment to support the Brisbane Tribal Council's confrontation with the Queensland Government over its Aboriginal legislation."
The report went on to say that
"after about 36 hours of deep debate, the conference agreed to adjourn so as to allow members to take part in the church service organised by Brisbane Tribal Council in Pastor Don Brady's church prior to the demonstration, join in the march and be present as observers at the demonstration itself. The conference also adopted a detailed statement of objections and recommendations concerning the new legislation and organized delegations to see church leaders and politicians in
The violent clash between Aborigines and the police which followed was headlined all over Australia, and would certainly have been worse had it not been for the presence at the scene of about a hundred Australian and overseas Church people. While deeply troubled by the violence on the streets, we were there because we were even more troubled by the reality of what has been called the "systemic violence" of Australian society, particularly as revealed in Aboriginal infant mortality rates ten times that of white Australians and because of an unwillingness to condemn the "violence of the oppressed".
My report to Australian Quakers concluded:
"that it is our corporate failure which has led to the frustrations and anger we are now seeing expressed. The situation is bad and could rapidly deteriorate into serious physical violence with a hardening of attitudes and a white 'law and order' back-lash. We need to face o responsibilities and do something. If we believe in non-violence we must be where violence is; if we believe in justice we must be where injustice is; if we believe in racial harmony we must be where racial disharmony is. If it has taken the shock of violent confrontation to move us to act, then let that be a judgement on us. We must still act."
Australian Quakers re-acted by inviting the American Friends Service Committee to send us "an experienced worker in the field of black-white relationships and non-violent solutions . . . The purpose . . . to assess the situation, stimulate involvement, initiate a programme and train Australian Friends and others to work in this area".
That is how Charlotte Meacham came to visit Australia. Charlotte is a graduate of the Chimand School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles. From 1939 to 1944 she worked with the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and the United Kingdom House in Birmingham, and from 1944 to 1948 served as assistant to the Central Avenue Health Officer for Community Programmes in Los Angeles. After four years in India with her husband working on village health education for the Methodist Board of Missions, she joined the staff of the Henry Street Settlement in New York City.
Charlotte Meacham began her career at the American Friends Service Committee in 1959 as Director of the Philadelphia Metropolitan Housing Programme, Community Relations Division. She became the National Housing Representative in 1961 and the National Representative for the Administration of Justice Programme in 1966. In that capacity she co-authored "Struggle for Justice: A Report on Crime and Punishment in America", and in 1971 with her husband joined the Quaker International Seminars Programme, based in its Singapore office.
Charlotte spent six intensive weeks in Australia, from July 30, 1972, talking with Aborigines, Quakers, Cabinet Ministers, and ordinary white Australians. She visited Perth, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Hermannsburg, Darwin, Yirrkala, Cairns, Brisbane, Launceston, Hobart, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. The tour culminated in a seminar in Sydney where representatives of all the Quaker Meetings in Australia came to observe and encounter the reality of Sydney's urban ghetto situation, to listen to Aborigines, and to discuss with Charlotte where they might go from there.
Many Australians still see the "problem" as "the Aboriginal problem", when in fact it is more the white problem. This was one of the main reasons fin bringing someone such as Charlotte to Australia; to confront white Australians with the problem of white institutional racism. As Charlotte put it, racism is "programmed in" to us through our families, our education, and the very customs and institutions around us which we take for granted.
What did Charlotte Meacham's visit achieve? Firstly, it brought experience, insight, and sensitivity to bear on the problem of communication between black and white Australians. Charlotte came determined to listen, not to be seen as "an expert" or "visiting fireman", but rather as a catalyst, helping to discover Aboriginal ideas, initiatives, and the leadership which she believes exists within any community. The visit stimulated Quaker dialogue and involvement with the Aboriginal people. In particular, the final consultation made a deep impression on many Quakers who took part, above all because the listening involved a deep emotional experience as well as intellectual understanding.
The direct response by Australian Quakers includes the setting up of a Quaker Race Relations Committee, based in Sydney, and support for various Aboriginal initiatives including the all-Aboriginal national land rights conference currently planned for Darwin in May, and the proposed urban Aboriginal community in a block of terrace houses in Redfern. Plans are being made to enable two or more Aborigines to undergo training and experience in community organization work amongst minority groups in the United States, Canada or New Zealand.
The production of this report for wider distribution in Australia and overseas is another response. This has presented difficulties because the Aboriginal situation and Aboriginal organization is somewhat fluid, particularly since thc change of Federal Government in December, 1972.
New policies create new hope, new problems, and require new responses. Amongst the problems we can already list the danger of a new "welfare
oriented handout mentality", the need to overcome bureaucratic inertia and paternalism, and the already emerging white racist back-lash. If the report goes some way towards helping us to avoid or overcome these problems it will have been worthwhile.
Charlotte has responded to the new situation with a report which is still topical, and which addresses itself to the new hopes and challenges which lie ahead. This has naturally required some editorial help from within Australia, and I have tried to make Whatever minor alterations seemed necessary while retaining the vital spirit and flavour of Charlotte's view from without.
While the main initiatives which have resulted in this report came from within the Society of Friends, its ecumenical origins in the Southport Conference should be remembered, and we are happy to record the co-operation of other Church bodies and individuals both during and since Charlotte Meacham's visit. The new Quaker Race Relations Committee is working actively with the Australian Council of Churches, as well as with Aboriginal groups and individuals.
Charlotte Meacham's visit, and this report, would not have been possible without the great sense of enthusiasm and support of the late Donald Groom, who was Secretary of the Society of Friends in Australia from 1970 until his death in an air crash in India on August 11, 1972. Donald was one in whom "the concern for peace and the quest for the power of non-violence were linked to the quest to know a people, that (in the words of the 18th century American Quaker, John Woolman) 'I might learn something from them and that the leadings of love and truth in me might be of some service to them' ".
It was in that spirit that Charlotte Meacham approached her visit to Australia. The over-riding "leading of love and truth" which she left with nic was the message that "the only alternative to violence is justice". As Charlotte put it: "Listen to the Aborigines — White Australia: They are demanding justice, autonomy, and a future for their children".
A. BARRIE PITTOCK. Aspendale, Victoria. March, 1973.
There were many questions in my mind as I left Singapore for Australia on the evening of July 30, 1972. Would Aboriginal people speak openly and frankly to a Westerner who was also a woman? What relevance would my years of community organization in the rural areas and dark ghettoes of America have in assessing the problems of Black Australians? What was the reality of stories I'd been reading about the new impulses toward self-determination and Aboriginal power that were moving Aboriginal society? Were they indigenous, or merely a repetition of the phrase "black power", so terrifying to white Western society everywhere? What, if any, relevance might my Asian experience either in South-East Asian cities or village India bring to the Australian situation?
Given the abysmal failures of white America in treating with its own citizens who are Black, Spanish-speaking or Indian, what advice did I, an American Caucasian, have for white Australia? I decided that the last question was, perhaps, easiest to answer: Take us as an object lesson and avoid while you can the costly, tragic and stupid mistakes we have made that now divide and polarize our society!
At the invitation of Australia Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) I went for a six-week's • tour to study the situation of the Aboriginal people of that country, not to provide another survey of that over-surveyed group, the Aborigines, but to see what Quakers could or should do to support Aboriginal aspirations at a critical time. The tour included visits to all six Australian States and the Northern Territory. I flew some thousands of miles and interviewed around 200 people in cities, the outback, mission stations and reserves. Those interviewed included first of all the Aborigines themselves. I also met with a number of Government officials, both State and Commonwealth up to Cabinet level; with MP’s., Welfare Officers and other officials; with missionaries and academics, physicians, lawyers, social workers and groups concerned with Aboriginal Rights. Exposure to the views of a broad variety of white Australians was possible through the questions asked at public meetings where 1 spoke, through 'phone-in radio questions and other media interviews, where sometimes it was far more interesting to question the questioners than to be interviewed. No-one could hope to become an "instant expert" in six weeks' time. The new Labor Government has come to power since my visit and it seems to hold forth some bright promise. Yet issues between minorities and majorities are, at best, hard to resolve. It is possible to sense attitudes and values, and those with a legacy of past mistakes may have insights to offer. There follow some impressions and the recommendations that flow from them.
II BLACK AUSTRALIANS
This was an exciting time to be visiting Australia. After 200 years of white, colonialism the first Australians were finding their voices and mounting demands for land rights and civil rights that startled the nation. "Who has influenced them?", white Australians asked me over and over. Were these European-Australians really so unaware of the winds of change blowing through the world as they sometimes appeared to be? I wondered who would need to influence sick or hungry people to seek a better life?
As for the Aborigines, the most recent phase of their long struggle for justice might well be dated from the strike of the Gurindji tribal stockmen for equal wages and better working conditions at Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory in 19661. Then in 1970 came the filing of the famous Yirrkala land rights case, claiming that the Yirrkala clans were dispossessed of their tribal land in favour of the huge predominantly Swiss mining consortium, NABALCO, and asking that the Commonwealth Government make good their claim to the land and a share of the wealth2.
A tent, the Aboriginal Embassy, had been set up on the lawn of Parliament House in the national capital on Australia Day (January 26) 1972, as a symbol and support for the land rights struggles. It was visited by hundreds of Aboriginal people from all over the nation. The supporters included individuals and groups from all sections of Aboriginal society. As I travelled about I found that many people, even from the outback, had either been there themselves or knew about it and approved The Embassy as a source of dignity and a symbol of Aboriginal aspirations. It was a challenge to the white authorities to listen to the Aborigines and their demands for justice.
Aboriginal feelings were catalysed when the McMahon Government made clear that it would not effectively change the law following the decision of the Northern Territory Supreme Court in April, 1971, that the Yirrkala people had no legal claim to their land "under Australian law". It was the Government's formal statement to this effect on January 26, 1972, which caused the Aboriginal Embassy to be set up as a standing protest.
The Government's decision to have the Embassy pulled down some six months later came close to being the final straw in Aboriginal-white relations. When the police moved in, within hours of the publication of a special new ordinance for the purpose, numbers of Aborigines and their white supporters were injured or arrested. Several hundred Aborigines and white supporters subsequently came to Canberra to defend the Embassy, and repeated clashes with police followed. "I was there at the Embassy" was a statement often made to me with quiet pride, from tribal young men on the Gove Peninsula (Yirrkala) to middle-class matrons in Sydney and Melbourne.
"Publish the plight of the Aborigines"
My first contact with Aboriginal people was the night I landed in Perth. I was taken to the "Consulate" (a State version of the National Embassy) situated on the grounds of the West Australian Parliament House. Here the challenge on a banner hanging outside the tent was, "We need 1,500 houses for Aborigines". About a dozen Aboriginal people, young and old, were sleeping there to underscore their demand. Later I was to visit the fringe areas around Perth, typical of living conditions found near many Australian cities. Even by South-East Asian "squatter" standards they were incredible.
We were greeted at the Consulate by handsome Aboriginal poet, Jack Davis, white haired and eloquent, a life-long fighter for rights for his people. Bundled against the wet and chilly winter night were younger people, some of whom had come many miles from the Northern tribal areas, some from the fringe areas where they were living in "humpies" of tin and blankets and bags while they searched for work.
Huddled around the small kerosene stove we drank mugs of steaming tea, and as the children slept on cots around us, I was told about the pauperized and untrained people, the dreadful infant mortality rate, the many health problems rooted in malnutrition or the despair of drink. The voices grew most bitter when they told of the different treatment accorded by Government to the European immigrants who were offered every kind of aid as inducement to settle in Australia and whose numbers each year (about 140,000) almost exactly equal the Aboriginal and part-Aboriginal population of all Australia.
Over the years, I was told, the "White Australia Policy" had trained the immigrants for jobs in the mines and heavy industry, and provided them with every kind of facility to ease their passage to a new land, even including ethnic based recreational and cultural clubs. Aborigines had been deemed "unfit" to hold these jobs, through lack of educational and technical training and the health problems that came with the early settlers and have been exacerbated through lack of medical programmes. "Aborigines have probably the highest infant mortality rate in the world", we were told, and in all the history of Australia since the coming of Captain Cook in 1770, there have been only about a dozen Aboriginal University graduates, all of these since the early 1960s.
What are the Aboriginal demands? We listened to Mr. Davis.
The Aborigine inhabited the land for 30,000 years. He never denuded or exploited it . . . Through the Spirits he tied himself forever to the land — the very ground of his existence . . . Aborigines moved back and back as the sheep and cattle interests took over the land .. . Aboriginal culture was practically wiped out . . . through loss of culture we lost our identity, our self-hood, we lost our link with the land .. . unless white Australia takes care of its race relations policy now, we'll have a worse situation than the U.S. ever had . . . Being the people we are, we were horrified at the violence of the U.S. (when he and four other Aborigines visited there in 1970). However we saw that any group of poor persons could raise the living standard of their people by standing up and raising their voices.
We are the indigenous ones -- we belong here — our land has been stolen! We want rights for our semi-tribal people and for those who have been detribalized so we can live and love and be part of this country in peace and harmony with the white man.
What could the Quakers do to help? "You can publish the plight of the Aborigines world-wide!" was the instant response.
"They should listen to the Aboriginal People"
The great Australian outback is awesome even to one familiar with the vastness of North America's western deserts. It stretches dark red and implacable as the tiny plane skims along, up through the centre of the continent's 3-million square miles. The low grey spinifex bush and a few scattered small trees seem to be the only vegetation. One is filled with wonder that the early peoples who roamed this harsh land for at least 20,000 - 30,000 years could have survived. But so skilled were they and so sensitive their balance with the ecology that until the coming of the white settlers the land supported them. Outback survival was not comparatively easy, as in the south-east coastal areas and the lusher northern and eastern seaboard. But the Aborigines' discipline, ingenuity and respect for the land formed a very special bond with the areas that nourished them. "The white man says the land belongs to me. We say, the Aborigine belongs to the land". This I was to hear all over Australia from Aboriginal people.
Mrs. Joyce Clague is a warm and well informed Aboriginal lady who is Australia's member on the World Council of Churches Commission to Combat Racism. She and her husband, Colin, make their home in Alice Springs, a headquarters for anyone interested in the Aboriginal cause. She has called for a Royal Commission to investigate the condition of the hundreds of Aborigines living without housing in the dry bed of the River Todd, who are driven, when the flash floods come, to creep up under the public buildings for shelter, and whose young children die at the rate of 200 per 1000 in their first year of life. Both Clagues have stood for election in the N.T. "to encourage people who need encouragement". They decided that I should go out to Hermannsburg Mission Station and meet the Arunta tribal people and they knew a young missionary who would drive in the 90 miles to fetch me.
Next day we headed west, the mission station wagon loaded with Aboriginal passengers. Young Lyle, a chunky two-year-old, was on my lap completing the last part of his journey from the hospital in Adelaide where he had survived a heavy upper respiratory infection, the curse and killer of many Aboriginal youngsters. Not sure what he thought of the new Aunty, he sat quiet and solemn, his curly head cuddled under my chin. In the back seats, a stockman, his dark face impassive under his broad brimmed hat, three younger men and a little boy rode silently.
"John, what am I going to do in Hermannsburg?" "You are going to speak to the missionaries, under the auspices of the Earth Committee", the bearded young man at the wheel replied. "What's the Earth Committee?" John explained. Six out of the staff of 25 Europeans at Hermannsburg had formed a committee to study changes and innovations in mission procedure that might be in order such as the Aborigines assuming more and more control of their own affairs. Its full name was the "What On Earth Are We Doing Here Committee" — "Earth" for short. As we laughed together I noted that the name could be appropriate to more than one committee I'd served on lately.
"Will the Arunta people speak with me?" Some of the men might, he thought, we'd just have to see. They might I thought. But would they say politely only what they believed a stranger might want to hear?
At Hermannsburg we drove through the settlement delivering passengers. Behind the little stone cottages in straight rows, were often the kind of bag and tin humpies I'd seen in the fringe areas to the west and south. Young Lyle's return was greeted by wild enthusiasm. Children of all ages poured beaming into the dirt road and surrounded the car. And I received a shock. It is one thing to read health statistics and rates of childhood morbidity: but to see that from the eyes and nose of every child oozed a yellow pus, fly-covered, distracting attention from the bright faces, was another matter. Nothing in village India or South-East Asia had prepared me for the dread upper respiratory infection. I realized with shame that I was relieved that the window glass, raised against the dust of the long drive, separated us.
The hospitality that John and his wife Diana offered did remind me of village India. Yet they worried (as we used to) about the discrepancy between their simple house with its outside flush toilet and the living standard of the 600 Arunta people living on the station. Learning that there was to be a Tribal Council Meeting that afternoon, we went to meet some of the elders. One younger man, Helmut Pareroultja, was Chairman of the School Council. He introduced his uncle, Edwin Pareroultja, a bright faced old gentleman in a stockman's hat. Helmut Pareroultja's father was Rubin Pareroultja. "How do you do, Mr. Pareroultja. I'd be very much honoured if you could take time to speak with me a few minutes. I'm in Australia trying to learn from the Aboriginal people themselves about their problems and what they feel should be done." Gracious smiles all around and an invitation to "sit down with us for a while".
As we headed for the tiny church together, and John tactfully disappeared, I wondered how to begin. I need not have worried.
Seated around a big table with about eight men, some of whom came and went, the conversation lasted for almost three hours. Mr. Edwin Pareroultja started off immediately, raising a stern finger at me across the table. "I want to ask you something!" Yes, sir, I'll try to answer. "Is it true that there are black policemen in America?" he said. Yes, it's true; but sometimes they have a pretty hard time. I described the hardships and danger that a former colleague had undergone in order to become the first Black Sheriff of Greene County, Alabama, since American Civil War days. "Ah, that's good. And can he arrest white people?" I was thunderstruck — here in the middle of the Australian outback was this old tribal man, the poorest of the poor, asking such knowing questions. The winds of change must certainly be blowing!
I offered to send pictures of my friend and his two white deputies. But the Arunta men were even more interested in pictures of the Consulate in Perth that Mr. Davis had given me. I had to promise faithfully to send back copies. The Embassy at Canberra was good said the men. They knew about it from the southern newspapers. They needed a little newspaper of their own so the people in the south would know what they were thinking. They needed a centre "nothing to do with white people" that would be their own, where a field officer, "a full Aborigine in his mind", would investigate land claims and go out to ask the people, "How are you living? What are your needs?". Welfare officers and Government should come to the Aboriginal people themselves, not go to the whites for information. "They should listen to the Aboriginal People. We should control our own lives. The People must come together, one power. We want this to happen now (ljata)". This theme was to run through the whole conversation: we want our young people trained, for police jobs. But we want them to go for a proper education to the southern universities "not like Kormilda"5; we want proper houses not humpies; better sanitation and health care for the children — now. We want control of our own finances, not the Superintendent of the Mission or the Welfare controlling all our money. "This is a shame, this is a sadness. We know about the gas and minerals on our land. They should be controlled by us, in a different way, to make a living for all the people."
It had grown dark, dinner was past and the missionaries were waiting. I expressed my great appreciation to the Arunta men for speaking so frankly with me. I was uncertain. Did they intend that their words be conveyed to the mission? I asked. The younger man said, "Yes!", then looked quickly to the elders. They nodded with quiet dignity. "Yes, you may tell them. All the People say the same thing. We've been waiting for someone to come and talk with us about it." I will not forget that day.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the unexpected assignment, I did tell the missionaries. We then compared notes on how the outsider, the enabler, can work in a community, helping to identify the natural leaders who are present but often unrecognized; establish goals that the people themselves choose, and achieve some modest successes. It is then time, I maintained, for the outsider to bow out, leaving people in charge of their own lives and resources. This is the theory of self-help and I had seen it work in all kinds of situations, with all kinds of people. Basic to its success is respect for the people and their potential to learn and to know their own problems better than the outsider can, and to make their own mistakes.
Yes, said the Superintendent, but for 200 years the theory of Government (and often the Missions) had been to institutionalize the Aborigines, making them dependent and causing a breakdown in their own cultural structure. Now, he went on, we must let the Aborigines take over, but they're going to make some pretty costly errors and it's not at all clear that Government is up to footing the bill. We agreed that over the years some pretty costly errors had been made by the white people — at Aboriginal expense. Were the Missions too deep into the assumption that "the Western way is the superior way" of doing things to point a new direction? We reached no conclusion.
"Welfare don't own our souls"
Pastor Frank Roberts was speaking: "We must work for Aboriginal autonomy, for the right to make our own decisions. We have to rediscover who we are.” Was it really true that one had to get permission even to visit Bagot Reserve? “Yes, any reserve! But don't ask permission — it's degrading to Welfare don't own our souls!" said the people at the meeting in $0, so I did, and talked with the women there, some the deserted heads of families. They told me of their fear that their children would be taken away to institutions, or to be "assimilated" into white families. The same sad story of the North American Indians and their "protectors".
This seemed especially poignant later, sitting around a barbecue in the backyard of Bob and Amy Randall's home, which is a sort of informal com - munity centre run by this dedicated pair. Mr. Randall played the guitar and sang two of his own songs — "My Brown-Skinned Baby, They Take Him Away" and "Who Am I, What Am I?" I learned later that both the Randalls had been parted as children from their families by Welfare and taken to Croker Island. As adults they had gone on a pilgrimage back to Central Australia seeking their lost loved ones and the identity that had been taken from them. (Such is no longer Welfare Department policy, but fear amongst Aboriginal mothers of losing their children to institutions is still common, and styli policies are still advocated from time to time.—Editor.)
"We Still Demand Title to the Land"
"The plaintiffs are making a claim without precedent in the Australian Courts" says the final address for the plaintiffs in the famous Yirrkala land case. "A decision in favour of the plaintiffs would satisfy the requirements of natural justice and fair dealing as they would be seen by most people in Australia and overseas."
Yet, in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Blackburn gave judgement in the Yirrkala case2 in favour of the Commonwealth and NABALCO Pty. Ltd., a 75 per cent. Swiss-owned consortium. NABALCO is spending over $300 million to develop bauxite worth $1,200 million on Gove Peninsula. The people of eleven clans on Yirrkala Methodist Mission had claimed in their brief that their tribal interest in the land had been unlawfully invaded by the Commonwealth Government and NABALCO.
The Judge acknowledged that there was a deep spiritual relationship with an area of land recognized by each clan, which recognition was an obligatory system of law within the Aboriginal community (thus destroying the myth that the Aborigines were rootless nomads). The "ranga", or sacred objects given by the tribal ancestors, were not only symbols "but a type of deed to the land itself" says Francis Purcell who is the Yirrkala's lawyer. "I and the Court were privileged to see these closely guarded sacred objects (produced) to the Court as conclusive proof of divine allocation of land . . . it was obvious that the Aborigines considered that their existence finalised any arguments of land ownership."6
Conflicting reports had reached the Press as to the real feelings of the Yirrkala people, and of the attitude of the Chairman of the Yirrkala Aboriginal Council, Mr. Roy Marika, M.B.E., towards the NABALCO project. It was hard to know what was misrepresentation and how much might have arisen from tribal mistrust of "southern stirrers and trouble-makers" (as many Northern Territory whites characterise critics from South-Eastern Australia). I went to Gove, hoping to ask Mr. Marika about his attitude toward the Company and its policies.
There, on the lush Gove Peninsula, hospitality was provided by the Mission. I was introduced to a remarkable lady, Mrs. Yinitjuwa Marika, sister-in-law to Roy Marika and widow of a former elder of the village council. She often sat with her husband and translated for him in meetings. She spends much time working with the tribal women in the area and is herself active in the village council. .
The Yirrkala still want their land, she told me. They plan to fight for it and bring their case to a new Government, if Labor should win. "All the people think the same way. Land is the most important issue. We need European support, but we were the first Australians. We and the Europeans can learn from each other." After we had talked a while she offered to introduce me to her brother-in-law, Mr. Roy Marika.
In the late afternoon we found Mr. Marika sitting on a blanket in front of his house with Frank, his young nephew. Nearby several men with didgeridoo and slapsticks were creating a song for the funeral of an important elder. Guided by a slight signal of Mrs. Marika's hand. we paused at a respectful distance and waited a few moments for the invitation to approach and sit with them. The music continued as we talked.
After explaining the purpose of my visit and conveying my respects to the Yirrkala People and their struggle, I asked Mr. Marika concerning the feelings of the People about the case. "We still demand title to the land", he answered. "Justice Blackburn didn't understand. Ten people met two months ago at Elcho Island and agreed (that) Government must recognize Aboriginal ownership of the land. It's not Crown land, it's Aboriginal land." It was true, he said, that the Yirrkala had made application, with their lawyer—who I was directed to contact in Melbourne — for 5,000 sq. miles of land, under the Government's new lease system for mineral exploration licences. "Until such time", said Mr. Marika, "as Government recognizes the moral rights of Aborigines. In the future", he continued, "our own people will stand on their feet on the land — no longer the lost ones — carrying their own future and family relationships." Frank Marika was dispatched to fetch the precious legal transcript and I was entrusted with it to read overnight — a great privilege. "We didn't realize", said Mr. Marika, "that NABALCO would get all the richness of the land. We like to see people, and friends do what we want, not what they think. NABALCO can still come, but under Yirrkala direction."
"The white man would never let us run anything of our own!"
This bitter statement burst from a prominent Aborigine in a meeting of blacks and whites, earnestly discussing the future of white and Aboriginal relationships. It expresses such a basic belief among Black Australians of all persuasions, docile, militant and middle of the road, that I will return to it later. This conviction has its roots in the almost total conviction on the part of white Australians that their Western culture is superior, and, of course, heaven sent to tutor and "guide" the black population until it is "elevated" to the level of white society. Thus is racism programmed in — into the heads of individuals and into the systems of society. In America this attitude is summed up by the black community in this perceptive folk wisdom: "If you're black, stand back. If you're brown hang around. If you're white, you're all right". Stand back or hang around, forever on the edges of where all the decisions of your life are made by those who control the power to decide for you.
This is why, all over the world, black racial consciousness is a response to white racism. As such it is a consequence of white attitudes, a defensive one. It is not an aggressive insistence on further racism when minority people insist that it is of utmost importance that they meet on their own, discuss among themselves and decide on their own the issues that most vitally concern them.
Let me give just two examples of many I encountered. In a Queensland city a large group of whites and Aborigines met to consider a housing issue. The Chairman of the meeting, a retired civil servant and a white man, limited the Aboriginal people who tried to speak with impatient glances at his watch or sarcastic comments on the "irrelevance" of the Aborigines' remarks. Very few Aborigines continued the struggle and decisions were largely made by the white people present, all of whom were highly conscious of wanting to "do something for the Aborigines". At a meeting in another State a proposal was made for an Aboriginal Centre to be run entirely by Aborigines. Maybe if the U.N. sponsored it there would be less white interference? "In Australia the white man would never let us run anything on our own" an older man burst out angrily and Aboriginal heads nodded in agreement.
"If white people only knew how it makes you feel"
Len Watson is a big man, articulate and able. Seven of us sat around the table in Brisbane Friends Centre talking far into the night. As people detailed the provisions of the Queensland Aborigines' and Torres Strait Islanders' Affairs Act of 1965 which is supposed to be for the "protection" of Aboriginal people I had the eerie feeling that I was back in Mississippi in the 1930s. The same heavy paternalism, the same tight control over people's lives, the same "protective" attitude toward black people, which also just happen to protect the privileged position of whites, except that iii Queensland the controls are made even more explicit by the Act and its Regulations. According to Prof C. D. Rowley, census figures of 1961 show "no less than 40 per cent. of Queensland Aborigines were locked away in (the) system of settlements and controlled contract employment. When on a settlement (mission or welfare) the Aborigine was (is) subject to a degree of official authority which has never applied to persons in .Australia outside of gaols and asylums. Thus any act on a reserve which the officer considered a 'menace to peace and good order' could be prohibited"7. The Superintendent, under the Regulations, could deal with almost any action of which he disapproved as an offence . . . (he) appointed his own police "who had powers of arrest", there was also the settlement gaol "a prison within a prison". Len Watson explained that "under the Act" the settlement Aborigine's bank book was held by the Superintendent, and only he could authorise expenditure over $40. "We can't even spend our own money — can you imagine a bank keeping an account without a copy to the customer? Well, that's how it is — people can't get the money they need that is due to them!" He went on to talk of his boyhood in a little town where his family were the only Aborigines with children in the local school. It was rough he said, "If white people only knew how it makes you feel to be treated with contempt!"
There is a considerable difference in perception, to put it mildly, between Aborigines and the Administrator of the Act. Three Friends and I met with Mr. Killoran, Director of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, and his Deputy, Mr. Burless. The Director is said to be the most powerful man in Queensland as far as Aborigines are concerned. The policy of the Department he assured us was assimilation:
"The policy of assimilation seeks that all persons of Aboriginal descent will choose to attain a similar manner and standard of living to that of other Australians and live as members of a single Australian community enjoying the same rights and privileges, accepting the same responsibilities and influenced by the same hopes and loyalties as other Australians. Any special measures taken are regarded as temporary measures, not based on race, but intended to meet their need for special care and assistance to make the transition from one stage to another in such a way as will be favourable to their social, economic and political advancement."
The second sentence quoted is the rationale for institutionalizing people on the reserves and settlements. We asked about the powers of the Managers. The 16 reserves are really run by the Aboriginal Councils we were told, the Managers assuming the role of town clerk. A real problem is the desperate shortage of qualified managers. What about the managers' power over Aboriginal funds? "We run a banking service", we were told, and anyone can pull out $80 without question, anytime, anywhere. (Aboriginal people re-acted bitterly when I asked later about this, as they did concerning the assertion that any Aborigine would know the number of a "special 'phone" on Mr. Killoran’s desk and could at any time appeal managerial decisions that seemed unjust, to the very top.) We asked about the 1971 liberalization of the 1965 Act. Mostly it would be handled through the Regulations, we were told, which were not yet available. We inquired about medical services. Not a problem in Queensland, we were assured. The problem is communication — "mothers don't use what's available."8 There's a $120,000 a year supplementary feeding programme for pregnant mothers and children up to six years old.
Every community has a nurse, there's a flying doctor at Cairns and a full-time Deputy Director of Health, Dr. Livingston. Isn't the infant mortality rate among the "sponsored people" extremely high? Well, there's a Maternal Mortality Committee in Queensland, investigating the matter. The Department doesn't like to quote figures on infant mortality — they're too vague and uncertain. We asked Mr. Killoran what, in his opinion, private groups like the Quakers could contribute to the situation. We could provide homes where not more than two Aboriginal kids could be brought up. We expressed strong reservations about separating children from their families and their cultural heritage, citing the experience of the American Indians for whom this policy has proven disastrous. There is something to be gained by staying in touch with the Aboriginal family, Mr. Killoran conceded. He felt that since there is unemployment of Aborigines in Brisbane, Quakers might help find jobs, and also assist in rehousing Aborigines "putting them in as neighbours". A hand up, rather than a hand-out, was described as the Department's philosophy. We then met with Dr. Livingston who thought that Quakers could play a role in (a) involving Aborigines themselves in health programmes; (b) providing a link between Aborigines, the doctor and his receptionist; and (c) reassuring the white community and involving them in projects like one in Mt. Ise, where a group of women go around with a mini-bus taking people who need medical care to the hospital. Dr. Livingston said no separate figures have been kept until lately, but Aboriginal infant mortality might be four or five times that of the general population.
My impression after visiting the Department, and one of the reserves, was of a closed system, with all the temptations and dilemmas that situation imposes on even the most well intentioned administrator. Our meeting was like visiting the benevolent administration of an institution which is convinced that it is "rehabilitating" its clients and cannot understand why the results are so disappointing since, of course, the administration "knows best". Yet all the while the welfare-orientated person is weakened and made apathetic and powerless rather than strengthened by this authoritarian approach. Prof. Rowley is right, I decided, in referring to the northern half of Australia as "colonial Australia" s.
"No one deserves to live peacefully under this system"
These were the words of young militant, Dennis Walker. "It's got to change in my lifetime! Black people should have the power to control their own destiny". He told me of the sexual abuse and harassment of Aborigines by the Police and of young women by white men and by the Police. This was true of rural as well as urban areas and even included little girls as young as seven years old. I had heard similar stories in Central and Western Australia. I was to hear them again. Again I thought of Mississippi. What could Quakers do? "Bring the Establishment to peaceful negotiations on the questions of land, economics, justice and the police. Help abolish the Act!"
"We should be doing more"
Mr. Reg Saunders is one of the three Liaison Officers who are Aborigines in the former Office of Aboriginal Affairs in Canberra. He is concerned to encourage Aboriginal self-help groups to form local committees and get a sense of what it takes to manage their own affairs. In the rural areas, shire committees of white volunteers could form support groups. "We should be doing more along these lines", he felt. Legal aid is a must. There should be more involvement in solving the very serious housing and medical problems by Aboriginal people themselves. Good models exist. More Aboriginal Liaison Officers are needed. His opinions were echoed by Dr. H. C. Coombs, Chairman of the Government-appointed Council for Aboriginal Affairs and his colleagues, anthropologist Professor W. E. H. Strainer and Mr. Barrie G. Dexter. All three men have had distinguished careers and each seemed to me to have a genuine dedication to the advancement of the Aboriginal cause, plus some insight into the dangers of paternalism. They asked very keen questions concerning the community organization methods and goals of the American Friends Service Committee and some of the South-east Asian organizations that I described as effective in building up the people's sense of power and self-confidence. "We should be doing more" they felt, to encourage this kind of self-help and mentioned specific areas of need where private groups could also play a useful role.
(The standing of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs has been reduced in the eyes of many Aborigines by its restricted role as advisor to the former McMahon Government, and by the initial failure of the new Labor Government to appoint Aborigines to senior posts in the new Department of Aboriginal Affairs, which Mr. Dexter now heads.—Editor.)
My visits with Mr. Hunt, Minister of the Interior in the McMahon Government, who gave the official order to tear down the Aboriginal Embassy, and Mr. Howson, then Minister for the Environment, Aborigines, and the Arts, were less satisfactory. The Minister for the Interior and his deputy, although personally courteous, friendly and generous with their time, seemed caught up in stereotypes of "outside agitation" at the Embassy. Another curious statement involved the contention that race and land rights must remain "separate" in settling Aboriginal questions. The only thing that the Friend who accompanied me and I could make of this was to connect it with the expressed fear of white backlash. We could but quote Martin Luther King's statement that white backlash doesn't need to be created — white racism exists already. Mr. Howson felt that the Liberal Government was doing well in training Aborigines for "our" way of life. Government he felt was providing education as for white children, mapping sacred sites and providing 50-year group leases for land tied to a particular use. He felt that one sees progress in terms of a generation.
I was glad to have a stimulating few minutes with Gordon Bryant, then Labor M.P. and now Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the new Labor Government, and Kep Enderby whose portfolio now includes the Northern Territory. "When Labor gets in", they predicted, "we will make a difference!"
"Aborigines should speak for Aborigines"
I'd heard these words from young Galarrwuy Yunupingu, up in Arnhem Land. I was to remember them frequently as I visited the inner-Sydney area of Redfern, where the Aboriginal Medical Service, the National Black Theatre and the Legal Aid Service are clustered. Not far away is the Aboriginal Family Education Centre. Each is an impressive example of Aborigines speaking for Aborigines, and because they are important as models they should be known both to black and white Australians.
The Field Officer of the Aboriginal Medical Service is Mrs. Shirley Smith, an impressive, competent woman who is a social worker and dedicated spark-plug for the Service which provides clinical services for about 10,000 people. Sister Marjorie Baldwin, an Aboriginal nursing sister with two certificates, was the Field Nurse and the Service had just appointed a full-time doctor, carefully selected by its Board.10 Baby food, vitamins and clothing are stacked about the crowded shop front office. Every second or third child seen has impetigo, I was told, a vitamin deficiency ailment: 150 children and half as many adults may be treated in a week.
"The Aboriginal health problem is in a state of emergency", says Gordon Briscoe, then President of the Service. "The Aboriginal Health Service was organized as a voluntary action programme in a 'poverty culture', an exceedingly difficult task, but it now provides free first-class medical service in Redfern, with visiting teams also going to La Perouse Reserve and to country settlements".
Mrs. Smith, who describes herself as "a mad Catholic and a pacifist" not only runs the Medical Centre but pops over to the Aboriginal Legal Services Office with needy cases, helps folk with their rental problems and digs deep into her own meagre resources to help others make ends meet. "Help is the magic word around here" she says briskly and proudly displays a $2 cheque from a white pensioner which arrives regularly each month. "That lady heard about us on the radio", she says. "Can you imagine where we'd be if everybody was as generous as her?" Mrs. Smith also helps run the Breakfast Programme that feeds inner city kids. She and a Catholic seminary student go down to the markets to buy fruit and vegetables which were being distributed to 25 needy families with a total of 130 kids the week I was there.
Accompanying Shirley Smith to visit some of these families I was taken to dilapidated housing comparable to some of the worst slums I have visited in U.S. urban ghettoes. Housing discrimination in Sydney seems to be as prevalent as in the U.S. big cities and it works the same hardships on those who are poor and from a minority group. Twenty-eight to thirty Aborigines live crowded into some of the crumbling houses and the rents may be up to $48 a week for three rooms. The landlords demand bond of up to $100 before these "homes" can be occupied but seem to take no responsibility for keeping the places painted or in good repair. $20 bond is demanded by the gas and electric supply authorities before service is installed, so the family coming in from the outback or the reserve to better its condition is faced with a formidable barrier indeed.
That this is a part of institutionalized racism strains the credulity of white Australians. That a mother of eight, whose husband brings home $57.20 a week must pay $46 for utterly inadequate housing is simply outside their experience. One man brought me a newspaper rental section to prove that much cheaper housing, and adequate housing is available. Of course it is, but for whites only, though this is seldom made explicit. What he never could accept was the fact that discrimination (racism) imposes a hidden "colour tax" on Aboriginal families. How, I had asked, could a mother feed, buy clothes and medicine and provide school necessities for her family on $11.20 per week? Weren't landlords making money out of the double-standard of racism?
The "walkabout" stereotype is often trotted out at this point. In this context a move by white European immigrants to better their condition is viewed with approval. On the other hand Aboriginal mobility, although part of a vast world trend with the same object in mind, is put down as "irresponsible". Few whites seem to realize that the mythology of this stereotype "provides a convenient explanation for logical behaviour which we do not care to understand."11 It also, as do racial myths in any country, provides a convenient justification for higher rents, job discrimination, inflated interest rates, and the outright refusal of credit. Thus racism and the poverty cycle reinforce one another at the expense of the minority group. And, it must be added, all too often to the advantage of the majority. Such facts are hard for white people anywhere to accept, nor do whites usually want to do the very simple research necessary to verify them, although abundant evidence is at hand.
The Aboriginal Legal Service
Just across Regent Street from the Medical Service, in another shop front is the Aboriginal Legal Service. The initiative for the establishment of this Service also came from Aborigines themselves. Gordon Briscoe, the young Aborigine who was its Field Officer at the time of my visit, told me that it was formally established in October, 1970. Grass-roots contact with Aboriginal groups is maintained within a range which includes established groups as well as the growing number of militant and articulate young people. A 24-hour answering service is maintained. Cases average about 20 per week of which 40-50% are civil matters.
Professor J. H. Wootten, Q.C., Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of New South Wales, was instrumental in getting the service started after attending a meeting with Aborigines who wanted legal help in dealing with what seemed to be oppressive and discriminatory police behaviour at a time when "there was substantially a curfew imposed on Aborigines in Redfern, and the two hotels where Aborigines congregated were controlled by a heavy police hand."12 "A very high percentage of Aborigines relate unhappy experiences with Police and Courts in which they did not feel that they were justly treated", continues Prof. Wootten's testimony. 'The' need for special schemes of legal assistance to depressed minority groups, especially racial groups, has been demonstrated by .the experience of other countries and by research carried out overseas. Dr. Elizabeth Eggleston's thesis on Aborigines and the Administration of Criminal Justice documented this situation for Australia. . ." It certainly is demonstrated by abundant documentation in the U.S., including a Report on Crime and Punishment in America, prepared for the American Friends Service Committees in 1971.14
The appeals of Redfern Aborigines for legal aid met with good response from the Bar Council and the then Federal Minister in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs agreed to a grant to make the Service's first year of operation possible. A number of prominent Aborigines are members of the Council that is responsible for the work of the A.L.S. Two, panels of lawyers numbering about 200 in all are maintained, willing " to undertake cases without fee for Aborigines. The answering service is volunteer-based and available according to a roster for the emergency calls that come in, usually at night. Representation in court, helping to arrange bail and notifying relatives are all part of this vital link with the people served. We spoke at some length with Mr. Briscoe and with Gary Foley. They said the 24 hours "hot line" was "symbolic" but they hardly see one-eighth of the problems of people in the area. Much more needs to be done in the way of educating people to their rights: "people lose their civil rights through fear", said Mr. Foley. They felt that I should visit the lower courts, especially Saturday morning. This would have been a valuable comparison with U.S. lower courts, with which I am familiar, but time did not permit. However, the summary of the A.L.S. people had a familiar ring. "Whites fail to see that the problems (A.L.S. works with) are related environmentally to the poverty cycle and to racism. This lack of perception by whites thus becomes the toughest part of the total problem", according to Mr. Briscoe.
It is very encouraging to see that the work of the Aboriginal Medical and Legal Services are being spread to country areas in New South Wales, and that similar work is under way in other capital cities including to some degree Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The importance of Aboriginal initiatives and participation in the running of such Services cannot be overemphasised.
"We shall not be moved"
"White people didn't realize the Koories15 would rally to the Embassy", Bob Maza told me. Mr. Maza, a huge bearded man in an African deishiki shirt, was primarily responsible for establishing the National Black Theatre in Redfern. "We linked arms with our backs to the Tent and sang 'We shall not be moved' ", he continued, "And after the Police action we regrouped and sang 'We shall not be moved'!" His face lit up with pride in remembering that day.
Under the Theatre's auspices a memorable dance recital was staged in Devonshire Street Friends Meeting House directed by Miss Carole Johnson, a black American professional dancer working in Sydney with an Aboriginal troupe, The highlight of the performance was the "Defence of the Embassy". It had been explained that in Aboriginal tradition when adversaries meet, a spear is thrown into the ground between the opposing parties in challenge. If a just resolution of the conflict does not result, the spear remains in its place — a reproach and a challenge. The moving finale of the "Defence of the Embassy" number was a spear hurled into the ground by a young bronzed warrior. The audience, deeply moved, responded with cheers.
The Aboriginal Family Education Centre (Alexandria, Sydney)
Mrs. Eileen Lester has been the moving spirit of the Centre, ably assisted by Mrs. Pansy Hickey. The parents and grandparents of about 50 pre-school children involved in the project begin by learning to run a play session, go on to discuss and study child growth, child health and hygiene and how children learn. Participants meet once a week for discussion, and involved in all they do is the building of community pride, responsibility and respect for Aboriginal culture. The project, financed in its first three years (ending in 1973) by the Van Leer Foundation, operates in consultation with the Department of Adult Education of the University of Sydney. The idea of A.F.E.C. originated in New Zealand where since 1941 over 500 largely Maori communities have established Family Play Groups. It was taken up by Aborigines in New South Wales and a number of groups are now in operation in Australia.
A.F.E.C. reminded me of pre-school groups known as Headstart, established throughout the U.S. black communities under the Federal Government's 1968-70 Poverty Programme. Headstart had some remarkable successes (especially when programmes involved the homes), not only in raising the learning potential of young children but in helping their parents to establish a feeling of identity and worth.
We visited the A.F.E.C. play group and observed about a dozen children of various ages playing happily together under the relaxed supervision of several adults including a lady who introduced herself as the grandmother of twenty.
Later we took part in an adult session. As we sat around a big table drinking coffee, the parents told us they wanted a Centre for their own (they meet in church facilities) where the children could have additional space and the group would be more free to introduce traditional musical instruments and experiment with the development of murals on Aboriginal themes and Aboriginal ideas in books and puzzles.
I was impressed by the loving and self-confident air of the children and with the determination of the adults to "do it themselves", expressing identity and pride of heritage. "We're sick and tired of being on the receiving end", they said. "We want a building of our own and an Aboriginal school that we can call our own". One man summed it up, "What's important is these children learning self-confidence; people realizing their history, black identity and black pride". Mrs. Lester spoke quietly, "We're people first of all, then Aborigines, then Australians".
"Women can make the difference"
"In a time of social change women can make the difference", said a white anthropologist at Monash University. She underscored my own observation of Aboriginal women standing shoulder to shoulder with the men in their common struggle. Mrs. Geraldine Briggs of the National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women, Miss Bobbi Sykes of the Moratorium, Mrs. Faith Bandler of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are three outstanding people. Two women, Mrs. Pat Eatock and Miss Margaret Briggs stood for Parliament in the recent elections. Aboriginal women seem able to carry forward simultaneously the struggle against racism and the struggle for recognition as persons in their own right. This is most impressive. Other women can learn much from them.
The Black Caucus
One organization which has done much, recently, in raising Australia's consciousness of Aboriginal demands and of the growth in Aboriginal identity has been the Black Caucus. This exclusively black organization is centred in Sydney and contains a mixture of experience and youthful enthusiasm in people such as Chicka Dixon, Paul Coe, Gary Foley, Gary Williams, Bobbi Sykes, Lyn Thomson, Billie Craigie and Michael Anderson, who form a strong and competent core of workers for the Aboriginal movement. The Black Caucus meets whenever the situation demands and in 1972 it was the prime mover behind the setting up of the "Aboriginal Embassy" in Canberra and also in the holding of nation-wide protests under the banner "Ningla-a-na" ("We are hungry for our land") on National Aborigines' Day (July 14).
Consultation in Sydney on Aboriginal Rights
It had been decided earlier that my tour of enquiry would close with a consultation on action for Aboriginal rights in Australia. As planned, this consultation was held in Sydney at Devonshire Street Friends Meeting House on the weekend of September 9-10, 1972. Invitations were extended to Aborigines from all over Australia and 30 or more participated; from Northern Territory, from Queensland, from West Australia, from Victoria and from outlying areas of New South Wales as well as from Sydney. They included people who had partcipated in the Embassy witness. They included a pastor, a labour leader, teachers, young activists, social workers, tribal people and urban community people. Quaker representatives were there as well, from Sydney and from Friends Regional Meetings in all six States.
"If White Australia were really interested", the Aborigines said, "we would be listened to. We are demanding justice, autonomy and a decent future for our children". Aborigines described the conditions of their lives. Urban dwellers as well as people from reserves told of the fear and oppression, the frequent police harassment and lack of protection. Women from N.T. and Queensland told of the rape of young women and even little girls. "It's not confined to those places", they said bitterly. The lack of community power to change these conditions was illustrated by moving personal accounts. One Friend said, "I have never listened so hard in my life or heard so much that is painful".
Repeatedly the question arose: what can White Australians do? Aborigines from all over Australia stressed the issue of Land Rights as a fundamental spiritual, psychological and economic necessity. Bob Randall of Darwin stressed Identity, group and personal, as a survival issue. This includes cultural freedom, respect for Aboriginal tradition and an end forever to the separation of children from their own parents and their cultural roots. On Autonomy, Len Watson from Brisbane cautioned, "Listen, but don't try to be directive. We know our own problems far better than outsiders can, and if we make mistakes, they are our mistakes. We want our own culture taught in the schools, we want control of our own finances….. our own community control of Aboriginal Affairs from any point, National or local". "An end to this white paternalism!" cried Pastor Frank Roberts. "We want access into the system so we can influence it. People should stop telling us what to do, we have our own plans". All the voices of Aborigines I'd spoken with throughout Australia seemed to echo in my ears, when Chicka Dixon, wharf-labourer and one of the most respected of the older fighters for Aboriginal rights spoke: "You help us settle the land issue and we will take care of the rest ourselves!"
Would outside resources be welcome? Certainly, as long as they were supportive and recognized and respected Aboriginal initiatives. Aborigines need allies and friends who have contacts and influence both in white Australia and in the international community. "But don't tell us you'll do something and then not do it", said Ken Winder of West Australia bluntly. Support for new projects is needed, the training of Aboriginal organizers to work in their own communities, financial help for legal and medical services for the children. "And culturally centred pre-school groups", added Eileen Lester. Allies can bring pressure on other whites, educate them through involvement and example. This includes pressure, from the local police to the Federal Government "Protection for the women!" cried Mrs. Pat Eatock. Allies can act as catalysts and exert moral suasion through publicity — the press will cover what white people do and say.
Toward the end of the consultation Aborigines decided to set some priorities for action. They met as a group and decided to organize a national conference on land rights to be held early in 1973. A united Aboriginal stand on land rights was seen as crucial. This will mean drawing together as broadly representative a cross-section as possible of tribal, urban, semi-tribal and organized Aboriginal groups from all over Australia.
[At the time of going to press (March, 1973) this National Aboriginal Land Rights Conference is planned for May, 1973 in Darwin, with a Sydney-based organizing committee consisting of such diverse people as Chicka Dixon, Faith Bandler, Billie Craigie, and Bobbi Sykes, together with Frank Engel (Australian Council of Churches), and Martin Tuck (Society of Friends).—Editor.]
Some tribal people are suspicious of the southern urban dwellers, seeing them as "assimilated" and therefore untrustworthy. "The land was raped and so were the women", said one urban man grimly. "I've said to tribal elders, Listen my brother! It's not my fault my grandmother was raped by a white man. You and I belong together. This is our land. We can unite on that. And then they received me!" he added.
Another source of conflict is organizational frictions. Several women pointed out that the National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women bridges all of the important organizational gaps. Gordon Briscoe recalled the united front of the Embassy when the police moved in. "Ning-a-Na" applied to everybody. "The Embassy was placed there as a spontaneous protest to Government. We all went up to protest for land rights, compensation, identity and dignity. We were there together!"
Mistrust between tribal and urban people will not be easily overcome, particularly as many whites want to widen and perpetuate such divisions. But there was a spirit of confidence and determination amongst Aboriginal delegates that the task could be done.
Friends were asked to form a core group which would be committed to helping raise funds in the white community and would hear what Aborigines have to say on Lands Rights and other policies. They would stand as advocates of Aboriginal recommendations within the white Australian community. Friends present agreed to offer whatever support they could, and one result has been the appointment by Australia Yearly Meeting of Friends of a Race Relations Conunittee,16 based in Sydney and working closely with Aborigines and the Australian Council of Churches.
III. A TIME OF HOPE
The change of Government in Australia has apparently opened the door to a new era in Aboriginal-White relationships. It is significant that this far-reaching reversal of previous policy was, according to the new Prime Minister, Mr. Whitlam, "demanded by the conscience of the Australian people".17 "Australia's real test, as far as the rest of the world and particularly our region is concerned, is the role we create for our own Aborigines", he had said in a campaign speech and he promised that a Labor Government would abolish discriminatory laws and give Aborigines ownership of their traditional lands.18 The governing Australian Labor Party's policy on Aborigines is given in Appendix I.
Hopeful indeed is the new Government's prompt appointment of a commission to look into the intricate problems associated with land transfer; the choice of Mr. Justice A. E. Woodward to head the Commission;19 the pledge to turn over not only the land title but mineral and timber rights to Aboriginal groups and the prompt freeze on outside applications for leases on land claimed by the Aborigines. All of this coupled with Mr. Whitlam's firm stand against racism in Australia's immigration policy and in Australia's relations with South Africa and Rhodesia in a world torn by racial strife and injustice.
It is therefore with considerable trepidation that I venture some recommendations based in part on 15 years' experience as a staff member of the Community Relations Division of the American Friends Service Committee (A.F.S.C.). I have learned much in South-east Asia in the past year, and earlier in village India — lessons that I found useful in surveying the Aboriginal situation.
The Community Relations Programme addresses itself to the problems of poverty, exclusion and denial of rights in the U.S. and consists of work by a staff of 70 in 25 States who, together with local people, seek to bring about basic change in the areas of shelter, jobs and income, health and administration of justice (see Appendix II). My own responsibility was as part of a small national staff, seeking to draw together the varied experience of some 30 local programmes and bring it to bear on national policy and thought.
The Australian visit made me relive the period of the 60's in the U.S. Yet so much has happened in both countries since August-September, 1972 that one is wary of comparisons. Perhaps generalized warnings and a few specifics on what can work — if not aborted — will have to suffice.
One thing that our two countries share is a deeply embedded and largely unconscious sense of white Western superiority. Another is internal colonialism which extends over 200 years. White settlers in both nations moved in on someone else's land (that important Western basis of wealth) and built up our own wealth and institutions, while excluding the natural owners to the point of near extinction.
But institutions are not merely wealth or buildings or political groupings, as the A.F.S.C. has found in its 50 years of field work. Institutions exist in people's heads and we all suffer from a lack of imagination, especially about what it's like to be oppressed — most especially if one is part of the group that is doing the oppressing. It is hard if not impossible to stand in another person's place, and see the world through his or her eyes. I am very conscious of the privilege of travelling around the vast continent of Australia and of speaking and being spoken to by Aborigines with a good degree of candor. This was an invaluable experience that most white Australians may never have in a lifetime. It is for this reason that I have tried to faithfully record what was said to me, so that white Australians could hear it too. May they listen to the Aborigines!
We Westerners pride ourselves on our rationality. Yet psychologists tell us that the emotional attitude underlying rationality is humility — the willingness to be objective, to learn from others, to be open. If this be true, the coloured peoples of the world have seen precious little rationality in their experience with white colonisers. Professor C. D. Rowley comments on factors in European culture that have made western imperialism profoundly different from any known before. These include Western belief in the superiority of its own values, the conviction that native cultures were moral evils which should be destroyed and the bland assumption that the Christian settler was a "civilizing force" whose economic exploitation was the proper basis of the new civilization.20 Such convictions die hard and we Westerners still cherish them.
Recently a study by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights defined racism as those barriers — institutional as well as individual, private as well as public, indirect as well as direct, unintended as well as intended — which prevent persons because of their race or colour from freely making economic, social and political decisions.21 Those are the barriers that victimise people.
It is by no means the exclusive experience of the A.F.S.C. that the key to breaking through those barriers is for the victims of injustice to find new self-respect, dignity and power through organizing themselves to change the conditions of their lives. Unions have their roots in this kind of struggle and building of group identity and power. A Labor Government should perhaps have a special empathy for the importance of and need for this process. And it is happening in South-east Asia as well, an area with which Australia has an increasing affinity of interest. "People power" holds: that the victims of injustice have within their own communities the potential for self-help and change; that they know their own problems far better than any outsider can: that potential leadership exists and is brought forth in identifying goals and struggling to achieve them. In this way a community empowers itself. This is the situation in Aboriginal Australia today as the struggles of the Gurindji and Yirrkala, the Aboriginal urban programmes and the whole exciting Embassy story illustrate so vividly. Competence, self-respect and pride are growing. This new awareness is a vital resource for change. "People power" is autonomy. The very denial of powerlessness generates power in itself.
The attitude and policy of Government is of vital importance in encouraging this process and White support groups and individuals can play important roles when called upon to do so. Some suggestions for action are listed below.
The Labor Party platform (see Appendix I) pledges an end to discrimination; advocates standard pay rates; pre-school education; programme housing and returning of tribal lands plus mineral rights. "Efforts toward achieving the autonomy of Aboriginal communities are not mentioned save that their representatives will be regularly consulted when policies are being developed. Theoretically this is what happens now. In practice it is the white man, administrator or politician, who makes all the important decisions", says Dr. Lorna Lippman of Monash University.22 She adds that Aborigines, accustomed to an endless stream of broken promises from white politicians, will keep a close watch on developments.
I mention this not to denigrate what is being done by the new Government, but to suggest that serious consideration be given to:
1. An all Aboriginal elected National Council to be set up with statutory powers in certain fields and real power to administer certain funds and programmes.22
2. Immediate dialogue with a broad range of Aboriginal leadership concerning implementation of policies such as those contained in the National Tribal Council Manifesto of 1970 (see Appendix III) which in essence incorporates point 1.
3. Deliberate efforts to direct all policies towards the fostering and enabling of Aboriginal initiatives, through the provision of basic economic and other resources such as land and organisational autonomy, as of right.
Such policies would lead to Aboriginal self-respect and independence, rather than to a continuation of the degrading "welfare-handout" oriented situation which presently saps initiative and fosters a White sense of grievance at imagined discrimination "in favour of Aborigines". The latter, if not checked, could provide a political rallying point for a "white backlash" mentality.24
The Community Organisation method has been mentioned repeatedly in this report. It is no "cure all' but a process which builds dignity and confidence. As part of this process of empowerment it needs community organizers who have faith in people to solve their own problems, understand the utilization of indigenous leadership and seek to "work themselves out of a job" so that when the "enabler" departs local leadership is in full control. As does the A.F.S.C. philosophy, it views confrontation with institutional injustice as a healthy part of any democracy. It is a grass roots approach as contrasted with Community Development, which tends to "hand down" decisions from Government or from "experts".
Introduced throughout the primary cities of South-east Asia by the United Industrial Mission, the method is adaptive. It seeks to work within the culture of the host community and the results can be impressive. The Philippines has led the way with Manila's "Zone One Tondo Organization",25 but organizations are coming into being in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
White support groups could, if the Aboriginal People so desired,
1. Send Aborigines to Asia or the U.S. to train as community organisers.
2. Bring organisers trained in the community organization method to Australia.
Anyone who has worked in poverty communities must be impressed by the ingenuity and survival capacity of the people. When practical skills are made available for "felt needs" — in an atmosphere of confidence and trust — the results can be significant. For example, in at least one South-east Asian city a para-medical experiment is underway with doctors and nurses as "teacher-students" and poverty community residents as "student-teachers". The primary method is "dialogue", without text books, though a manual has been written. Six-month basic training courses for volunteers as "caretakers of health", in health care, sanitation, nutrition, pre- and post-natal maternity and child care are offered. A group of 31 (out of 34) "caretakers" completed the first course and under continuing supervision will serve as links between the 530 families enrolled in the Medical co-operative and remote doctors and hospitals. "Learning from each other is an article of our faith", says their manual. Such programmes could reduce the medical emergency among Aboriginal people and stretch limited medical resources available.
As the U.S. Poverty Programme of the '60s (a result of the civil rights struggles) was beginning to demonstrate, Legal Aid, Community Schools and tenant organizations all can work effectively under community control, building in hope and self reliance, and advancing equal rights.
It is a tragedy that the present U.S. administration's glacial policy of repression has frozen this hope. "I fear for my country", said a recent Black American visitor to Asia. Third World Editor of a leading church publication, he cited two recent books by respected and articulate spokesmen for the Black American community which express a deep concern that White America is engaged, either deliberately, or inadvertently in massively repressing its black citizens.26 My own visit to the U.S. in October-November, 1972, corroborated this viewpoint. Never in my working experience have I sensed such polarization though brave and committed people are continuing the struggle in all sections of the nation.
Thus it is with a special sense of urgency that an American must speak to White Australians. The Labor Government is creating a climate in which the roots of racism, which carry withering and violent consequences both for black and white people, can be eradicated once and for all, if public opinion can be mobilized in favour of change. Concerned white people have a special responsibility to work in their own white communities by:
1. Visiting courts to observe possible discriminatory patterns involving Aborigines and to bring appropriate pressure on authorities if such patterns are found to exist, tying this activity in with a nearby Legal Aid Programme or Law Faculty.
2. Gathering data on Aboriginal health and housing and working to improve both, seeking the advice of involved Aborigines.
3. Joining groups working for Aboriginal Advancement, contributing time (and money) to Aboriginal causes, and supporting the principle of autonomy for Aboriginal communities with any influential contacts they may have.
4. Working on a person to person basis with media people to encourage a wider exposure of Aboriginal goals and leadership as well as a broad documentation of Aboriginal needs with interpretation by Aborigines themselves.
5. Experimenting with "Consciousness-raising" groups in a home or church where several Aborigines and several whites might discuss issues vital to Aboriginal advancement. These might be known as Race Relations groups.
To sum up — the goals mast be:
1. An end to all the attitudes, social habits and familiar structures that institutionalise racism.
2. Aboriginal empowerment through —
(a) An elected national council with statutory powers and funds.
(b) Implementation of the spirit and goals of the National Tribal Council Manifesto of 1970.
(c) Intensive organisation within Aboriginal communities to enable them to express themselves in their own way toward the achievement of community power.
3. Continuing pressure on Government at all levels, on labour unions and on business to open up training and job opportunities so that Aboriginal policemen, judges, university students, technicians, professors, doctors, nurses and government officials will all become a part of everyday Australian life.
4. Vigorous, organised and persistent efforts by White people acting as allies and advocates of Aboriginal empowerment to change white attitudes and institutions while there is still time.
Australia is already a multiracial society in a multiracial region of the world. With its rich resources and a one per cent minority of Black Australians, it should be possible to right past wrongs in a far shorter time than it will take for the minority population Ito double — a predicted 20 years. If only a few changes are begun and then allowed to lapse, as happened in the U.S. in the '60s, the bright possibility of an Australia at harmony with its own population and within its own region will wither — as has the American dream. This would be a tragedy for us all.
Now in a period of crushed hopes for reform at home, Americans might well ponder on their country's violence within and without, and conclude, too late, that the only alternative to violence is justice.
Listen to the Aborigines, White Australia. Theirs is a message not of doom but of hope. They are demanding justice and a future for their children — and yours.
ABORIGINES — AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY POLICY, 1972
1. The Office of Aborigine Affairs be upgraded to Ministerial level and the Commonwealth assume the ultimate responsibility for Aborigines and Islanders accorded it by the referendum of 1967. Labor will evolve ways to regularly consult representatives of Aboriginal and Island people as to their wishes when policies are being developed and legislation prepared.
2. Aborigines to have equal rights and opportunities with all other Australians, and every form of discrimination against Aborigines to be ended.
3. Aborigines to receive the standard rate of wages for the job and to receive the same industrial protection as other Australians. Special provision for employment to be provided in regions where they reside.
4. Provide educational opportunities in no way inferior to those of the general community, with special programmes at all levels where necessary to overcome cultural deprivation and meet special needs. Pre-school education to be provided for every Aboriginal child including teaching indigenous languages where desirable. Adult education to be provided as broadly as possible.
5. Labor will give priority to a vigorous housing scheme in order to properly house all Aboriginal families within a period of 10 years. In compensation for the loss of traditional lands funds will be made available to assist Aborigines who wish to purchase their own homes. The personal wishes of Aborigines as to design and location will be taken into account.
6. A health offensive to be launched to eliminate leprosy, yaws, hookworm, tuberculosis and contagious diseases and to reduce infant mortality. Efficient mortality statistics to be maintained to measure the effectiveness of these policies among Aborigines.
7. Aborigines shall have the right to receive social services in the same way as all other Australians.
8. All Aboriginal lands to be vested in a public trust or trusts composed of Aborigines or Islanders as appropriate. That exclusive corporate land rights be granted to Aboriginal communities which retain a strong tribal structure or demonstrate a potential for corporate action in regard to land at present reserved for the use of Aborigines, or where traditional occupancy according to tribal custom can be established from anthropological or other evidence. No Aboriginal lands shall be alienated except with the approval of both the trust and of Parliament. Aboriginal land rights shall carry with them full rights to minerals in those lands. The sacred sites of the Aborigines will be mapped and protected.
9. Australia to ratify International Labor Organization Conventions No. 107 (The Indigenous and Tribal Population Convention, 1957) and No. 111 (The Discrimination, Employment and Occupation Convention, 1958) and these Conventions apply to all indigenous peoples under Australian authority.
10. A Parliamentary Committee to be established to study all aspects of policy and report to Parliament regularly and continuously.
11. Every Australian child shall be taught the history and culture of Aboriginal and Island Australians as an integral part of the history of Australia.
12. That trained Social Workers be provided in every area where housing ci Aborigines has been undertaken.
The Community Relations Programme of the A.F.S.C. addresses itself to the problems of poverty, exclusion, and denial of equal rights in the United States. The programme consists of concentrated work on the issues of shelter, jobs and income, education, health and administration of justice. A staff of 70 works to bring about basic change in these' areas.
Programmes work with diverse communities, black, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Indian and white. Staff is drawn fresh these groups, at present in a proportion of 50 per cent. minority and 50 pef cent. majority communities.
A.F.S.0 community relations work is carried out in 25 States, in rural settings as well as in urban centres and smaller cities. Approximately 30 field programmes presently operate, deeply involved in the lives of local people, guided by their needs. A small national staff seeks to draw together the varied experience and bring it to bear on national policy and thought.
Our diversity of programme is unified by a common vision: the democratic goal of a free society of equals, in which uniform legal rights and human social and economic systems bring to men and women the opportunity to participate in the major decisions affecting their lives.
A.F.S.C. programmes seek to root out those causes of violence in our society which lie in poverty, exclusion and denial of rights.
Our work begins with the principle that basic change is needed. On the basis of our experience we are clear that one major potential for change lies in the determination of the poor and excluded, those presently denied opportunity and equal rights, to control the direction of their lives. We therefore work with those who suffer social, political and economic injustice to develop skills, knowledge, organisation and economic resources. We start with a refusal to accept present conditions and move from there to vigorous steps toward change.
From the insights and new strengths generated at this base of work come new relationships to the institutions — private and public — which represent a major force in American life. From such relationships, involving new respect and shared power, we believe that renewed and new institutions can emerge which will better serve the needs of all people — the powerful and the presently powerless. Thus another focus of our work is with people and institutions facing the challenge of basic change. Their response will be critical to the quality of change.
Our diverse staff shares a commitment to basic operating practices, which flow from A.F.S.C. beliefs and experience. These are:
1. We believe that the people involved must take responsibility for the programmes of change which they want. We seek to provide experienced staff and other resources, without attempting to dominate.
2. We recognize the validity of group identity. We work with individuals, and groups in ways which accept this while challenging people to consider the universal values of humanity.
3. We place a positive value on diversity; seeing it as an asset to society and human relationships. We believe in the possibility of preserving the value of diversity while uniting people around work on common problems and common objectives.
4. We recognize that institutions and structures need to change in basic ways. We experiment with approaches to fundamental change. At the same time we recognize the basic human need of people to demonstrate that they care for one another. We provide such opportunities.
5. We are committed to ways of change which recognize the worth of all people — the powerful and the presently powerless. We are committed to peaceful ways of social change which focus on real issues.
The work of the A.F.S.C. in this field is small, certainly in comparison to the need and also in comparison to the resources which larger groups bring to the problems of poverty, exclusion and denial of rights. We ask ourselves then, what commends A.F.S.C.'s particular efforts; on what• basis do we draw on the human effort and financial resources required to carry them out?
Certain aspects of the background of the Religious Society of Friends, from which our basic commitments flow, can bring particular strength to A.F.S.C. efforts in this field. Chief among these are: (1) Friends' testimony on equality, seeing each human being as of infinite worth and equal in the sight of God and of other men; and (2) a history of dissent from society's prevailing practices, in the face of public disapproval at times, if those practices violate basic beliefs in equality and the value of each life.
The nature and history of the A.F.S.C. itself lend other strengths to its present community relations work. As a small private agency, the A.F.S.C. has the opportunity to plan and work with the flexibility a fast changing social and economic order requires. Further, the A.F.S.C. has more than two decades of experience in the community relations field and continually seeks to learn from it in an effort to escape dogma and habit-bound responses. The, operating practices listed above represent a formulation in January, 1971, by the National Community Relations Division of effective approaches to work based on our experience.
CONDENSATION OF NATIONAL TRIBAL COUNCIL POLICY MANIFESTO
from the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism pamphlet
"Aboriginal Issues", pp. 23 - 24.
In a brief form, the Manifesto of the N.T.C. demands:
1. Federal responsibility and action — an elected indigenous national administration to be responsible for the administration of government moneys to be spent on Aborigines.
2. Land and mineral rights — a policy of full recognition of ownership of traditional land and compensation for all land taken from Aborigines and royalties to be paid for communities affected by outside exploitation.
3. Education — to be one of the first tasks of elected indigenous national administration.
4. Consultation and power — avowed policies of consultation are meaningless and useless unless white decision-makers are prepared to give credence to what Aborigines and Islanders say. Such councils should be given actual policy-making and administrative roles and must involve real power to make decisions and act upon them.
5. Legal and protection -- a need for more lawyers. Where the rights of Aborigines are at stake, lawyers should intervene to see that justice is done.
6. Health — emergency nutritional, medical, housing and public health measures are necessary.
7. Cultural pluralism — worth and value of Aboriginal and Islander traditions and culture should be made a reality by encouraging programmes, seminars and courses aimed at re-acculturation of Aborigines and Islanders .. . the Government must abandon its failed policy of assimilation which amounts to cultural genocide and encourage growing desire for bi-culturalism in a genuine and voluntary plural society.
8. Freedom from prejudice --- a Federal law preventing all forms of racial discrimination and to ensure steps are taken to eliminate racial prejudice from all school textbooks and curricula.
9. Justice and rule of law — the administration of justice in the courts. Rules of law should be in accordance with standards laid down by the United Nations and its agencies and the International Commission of Jurists. Defendants must be fully aware of their legal rights, of details of legal proceedings of the court in a language in which they are fluent.
10. Employment — an extensive, adequately financed and effective on-the-job training programme using Aboriginal and Island staff.
(These proposals) lay down very radical changes, but they are also fundamental and urgently needed changes. If instituted, such changes would go far towards eliminating institutional racism in Australia. The crucial question becomes whether the racism which permeates Australian society will allow such flanges to be instituted or, if instituted as policy, to be implemented. As experience has shown, structures and laws can be changed by legislation but Intl-black attitudes cannot be changed by legislation.
1. The story of the Gurindji people is told in Frank Hardy's book "The Unlucky Australians" (Nelson pb., 1968, $1.95).
2. Milirrpum v. Nahalco Pty. Ltd. and The Commonwealth of Australia (Gove Land Rights Case). The judgement is reported in detail in 17 Federal Law Reports, pp. 141-294, 1971 (Law Book Company).
3. For a full account see "This Our Land" by Stewart Harris (A.N.U. Press, pb., 1972, $1.65).
4. The new Labor Party Government, under Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, is pledged to reorganize the immigration policy. "Financially assisted immigration from Europe will decline" — International Herald Tribune„ 4 December, 1972.
5. Kormilda College, run 'by the Northern Territory Welfare Department in Darwin to "prepare selected Aboriginal students for entry to community high schools".
6. "Bulldozers Crush Aboriginal Spirit" by Frank Purcell, Sunday Australian, 5 December, 1971.
7. C. D. Rowley "Outcasts in White Australia" (A.N.U. Press, 1971, $6.50; also in pb. edition by Pelican), Chapt. 4 "Queensland Policy and Legislation".
8. This statement is interesting when compared with the charge made in the pamphlet "Australia's Expendable Babies" which describes the work of Dr. Archie Kalokerinos: "Behind the conservatism, bureaucracy and ignorance displayed by medical authorities lies a strand of deeply entrenched racism, which conveniently blames Aboriginal mothers for infant deaths rather than make a serious study of the medical factors involved." See also Colin Tatz "'The Politics of Aboriginal Health", Supplement to "Palliate', Vol. VII, No. 2, Nov., 1972.
9. C. D. Rowley "The Remote Aborigines" (A.N.U. Press, 1971, $6.50; also in pb. edition by Pelican), introduction, p. 1.
10. The Service is the first Aboriginal organization in Australia to have a doctor whose full time is focussed on Aboriginal health. From its inception, services and consultation have been donated by medical personnel from various Sydney hospitals and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney.
11. Barrie Pittock in "The Ausiralian Friend", November, 1972.
12. Quoted from testimony by Prof. J. H. Wootten in Hansard (Proceedings) of the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, August 18, 1972. This gives a full account of the origins of the Aboriginal Legal Service, and documents legal discrimination in Australia. Available from the Secretary of the Committee, Parliament House, Canberra.
13. American Friends' Service Committee, "Struggle for Justice" (Hill and Wang, pb., 1971).
14. In his book "Aboriginal Advancement to Integration" (A.N.U. Press, 1970), Dr. Henry Schapper finds that although Aborigines make up only about 2.4% of the total population of Western Australia, they were imprisoned in 1966 at the rate of 11.5% as compared with only 0.4% for European-Australians (Appendix F).
15. "Koorie" is a word used by many Aborigines in the Eastern States for the English word "Aborigine". "Murrie" has a similar usage in Western N.S.W.
16. The Quaker Race Relations Committee is convened by Martin Tuck, 4 Sydney Street, Erskineville, N.S.W. 2043.
17. New York 'limes, December 16, 1972.
18. New York 'limes, December 10, 1972.
19. Before he became a Judge, Mr. Woodward represented the Yirrkala peoples in their unsuccessful legal battle to gain title to their land (see note 2 above).
20. Prof. C. D. Rowley in "The Destruction of Aboriginal Society" (A.N.U. Press, 1971, $6.50; also in pb. edition by Pelican), pp. 10-11.
21. "Racism in America and How to Combat It", U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, D.C.
22. In "Newsletter on Aboriginal Affairs" No. 2, July-Sept., 1972 (30 cents plus postage, from P.O. Box 78, Carlton, Vic. 3053).
23. Such a national council was called for by the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee which met in Canberra in February, 1973 at the invitation of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. It is understood that such an elected council has been agreed to in principle by the Government, but the extent of its powers and funding remains in doubt (Editor). See "The Australian", February 26, 1973.
24. Such a racist white backlash may be in some degree inevitable. It is already evident in some areas (see e.g., °The Australian", March 2, 1973), and may be used by vested interests as a base for wider opposition to the Federal Government (Editor).
25. See "People Power" in "Impact", April, 1971 (from P.O. Box 2950, Manila).
26. "The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America" by Samuel F. Yette, the Washington D.C. correspondent for "Newsweek"; and "Race War in America" by Fr. James Woodruff, ex-director, Union of Black Clergy and
Laity, Episcopal Church.
Books and Pamphlets
The following is a list of recent books and pamphlets about Aboriginal issues or related issues in the U.S. and New Zealand:
Carmichael, S. and C V. Hamilton, "Black Power, Pelican pb. $1.00.
Congregational Union of N.S.W., "Aboriginal Land Rights Explained", 30 cents plus postage from Box 89, P.O., Haberfiekl, N.S.W. 2045.
Coombs, H. C, "The Future of the Australian Aboriginal", University of Sydney, 1972, 75 cents plus postage.
Davis, Jack, "The First-Born", Angus and Robertson, 1970, $2.95. Poetry by a prominent Western Australian Aboriginal spokesman.
Deloria, Vine Jr., "Custer Died for Your Sins", Avon pb., 1970, $1.65. A witty American Indian manifesto.
account of recent developments in Aboriginal affairs up to late 1972.
Hulsbergen, R., editor, "The Aborigine Today", Paul Hanilyn, 1971, $6.80. Well illustrated book with hard-hitting and authoritative text.
Joint Board of Christian Education and Cripac Press, "Black Power, White Power", 30 cents plus postage from JBCE, 147 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000. This is a "see, judge, act" guide for study and group work.
Levine, S., and N. 0. Lurie, "The American Indian Today", Pelican, $2.50.
Lippmann, Lorna, "To Achieve Our Country", Cheshire pb., 1970, $1.95. Well illustrated and authoritative review of Aboriginal affairs.
Pittock, A. B., "Toward a Multi-Racial Society", Society of Friends, 1969, 60 cents, from 631 Orrong Road, Toorak, 3142. Exposition of need to develop a tolerant plural society in Australia. With new introduction, 1973.
Rowley, C. D., 3 volume series on "Aboriginal Policy and Practice": "The Destruction of Aboriginal Society': "Outcasts in White Australia"; and "The Remote Aborigines", A.N.U. Press, 1970-71, each $6.50, and in Pelican pb. edition, each $3.50. A monumental study of Australian race relations.
Steiner, Stan, "The New Indians", Delta pb., 1968, $3.20. Vivid account of U.S. Indian resurgence.
Stevens, Frank, editor, "Racism: The Australian Experience", in 3 volumes, Australia and New Zealand Book Co., 1972, $7.50 each (approximately). An important and authoritative collection of articles.
Stuart, Donald, "Ilbarana", Georgian House, 1972. A sensitive portrayal of tribal Aboriginal society.
Vaughan, Graham, "Racial Issues in New Zealand", Akarana Press (Auckland University), 1972, pb. $3.95.
Vincent, John, "The Race Race", S.C.M. Press, 1970, pb. $1.80. A lucid report raising most of the social and theological issues on race in a world setting.
Walker, Kath, "My People", Jacaranda Press, 1970, $3.95. Poems and speeches by the noted Aboriginal poet and spokesman.
World Council of Churches, "Aboriginal Issues: Racism in Australia", W.C.C. Programme to Combat Racism, 1971, $0.50.
Most Aboriginal organizations put out magazines or newsletters. Two periodicals with a national perspective are:
Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, 125 Bathurst St., Sydney, N.S.W., 2000.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Mr. Gordon Bryant, M.H.R., Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T., 2600.
National Black Theatre, 181 Regent St., Redfern, N.S.W., 2016.
National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women, 99 King St., Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
National Tribal Council, P.O. Box 969, Adelaide, S.A., 5001.
Society of Friends Race Relations Committee, c/o. Martin Tuck, 4 Sydney St., Erskineville, N.S.W., 2043.
World Council of Churches, Programme To Combat Racism, 150 route de. Ferney, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland.
OTHER PUBLICATIONS OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS) IN AUSTRALIA
James Backhouse lectures:
1. 1964. "The Evolutionary Potential of Quakerism". Kenneth E. Boulding. 40 cents.
2. 1965. "The Shaping Spirit". Clive Sansom, 40 cents.
3. 1966. "Seeking in an Age of Imbalance". Rudolph Lemberg, 65 cents.
4. 1967. "On Being Present Where You Are". Douglas V. Steere, 60 cents.
5. 1968. "In the Spirit of the Family". William N. Oats, 85 cents.
6. 1969. "Toward a Multi-Racial Society". A. Barrie Pittock, 60 cents.*
7. 1970. "Security for Australia?" Keith A. W. Crook, 60 cents.
8. 1972. The Quaker Message". A Hugh Doncaster, 75 cents.
9. 1973. "Friends and Other Faiths". Ottog B. Van der Sprenkel, 90 cents.
"The Quaker Way". A book about Quakerism for 10 to 14-yearelds.
"An Experience of Worship", 1964. An anthology. 15 cents.
"Quakerism; a mature religion for today". David K. R. Hodgkin 25 cents.
"Handbook of Practice and Procedure" of Australia Yearly Meeting. 50 cents
"The Australian Friend". Bimonthly Journal. $2.00 annually.
"With Unhurried Pace". A brief history of Quakers in Australia. Challis Stevenson. To be published in 1973.
* "Toward a Multi-Racial Society" has just been reprinted with a new introduction. It also appears as a chapter in the book "Racism: The Australian Experience", Volume 3, edited by Frank Stevens (A.N.Z. Book Co., 1972).
". . . it has long been accepted as the most convincing presentation of the liberal position on the question of race tolerance which has been produced in Australia."
Obtainable from Friends' Meetings in Australia, or from The Secretary, Australia Yearly Meeting, Friends House, 631 Orrong Rd., Toorak, Victoria 3142,