By Alexander Hayes
Remember the defunct Department of Native Welfare? Well it seems the Native Title Act 1993 has gone the same way, decidedly unethical, redundant and genocidal in enactment.
“…The system only accepts difference when its becomes sameness. There is an active will of the system to homogenise, so, for people who think that they are gaining equal rights they are not conscious that they are in fact being homogenised. As soon as people get to what it was they fought for, autonomy, they realise they are just part of the system anyway. e.g.. gay marriage, land councils, native title.” (McDuffie, M. (2018) Jimbin Kaboo Yimardoowarra Marninil: Listening to Nyikina Women’s Voices’).
Let’s examine the use of the term ‘native’ as aligned with Aboriginal dispossession and breaches of human rights. Likewise, the term ‘indigenous’ when in a contemporaneous context of Australia, many Traditional Custodians identify solely as Aboriginal, not using a vestige of the British Commonwealth as any more than an agent of archaic criminal servitude.
“…Aboriginal people are a diverse group of individuals and use of the term ‘Aborigine’ has negative connotations imposed during colonisation and can perpetuate prejudice and discrimination.” (www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/how-to-name-aboriginal-people).
It would occur to anyone with a conscience, an informed and ethical position, that the very first form of oppression and the recurring dispossession that Aboriginal Traditional Custodians experience is enshrined in language. To be called something other than what First People’s use to identify themselves by is tantamount to genocide of the most violent order.
Let’s break that down, but before we do let me make it absolutely clear that I am NOT of Aboriginal descent. I was born on Dharawahl country in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, to parents who had travelled 22,000 kilometres only to find more Scottish alcoholics, toxic and yearning for a ‘home’ colonised in every direction, repeatedly by the south. As the Reader, I do not assume that you are a passive, consumption focused and neutral ‘entity’ that needs to ‘prove’ themself as the Australian Native Title presupposes legitimacy.
So, why should an Aboriginal person have to prove who they are when they already know who they are, who their people are and most importantly for those who have sadly been removed from their rightful Families, why should they identify by what a government declares they have to be? What a disgusting annihilation of humanity by wilful design.
“…These attempts to grapple with the effects of native title have, in part, been impelled by Indigenous people’s complaints about the Act and the native title process. Since the Act was passed, many Indigenous Australians have become increasingly unhappy with both the strength and forms of recognition afforded to traditional law and custom under the Act, as well as with the socially disruptive effects of the native title process.” (press.anu.edu.au/publications/series/centre-aboriginal-economic-policy-research-caepr).
Again, each and every human has the ethical capacity to transcend the apathetic moral mass and individually acknowledge that Aboriginal Australia people are not ‘owners’. That ‘ownership’, that ‘possession’ rhetoric is often refuted and rejected by many Aboriginal nations, especially those who have suffered successive roll-outs and rollbacks of Australian government platitudes.
Repeatedly I am reminded by Aboriginal Australian people that “… the land owns us and we are obliged to protect country, now and for future generations.” With that understanding, let us all reinforce that message in any communications we have with the legal fraternity as they continuously use wrongful and twisted language across Australia.
Therefore, I assert that ‘Native Title’ and its vile orchestrations of shifting ‘traditional custodians’ to using that of ‘traditional owners’, as being wrongful western capitalist vernacular, the very first and foremost beginnings of genocide.
Likewise, the very same ‘reframing’ of humans as mere servants of ‘placeless’ corporations, is as affronting as cultural extinguishment. Our individual and collective identity I am told by Aboriginal people is forged in our tie to country, to each other, not to a paradigm of mindless apathy. In that respect, we have always understood our cultural embodiment as first and foremost held in ourselves (oral transmission of tradition), then cultural artefacts and thirdly in our aspirations to profit from our knowledge (through paintings, writing, film, media etc), we leapt over the precipice only to experience the greedy malcontent of incorporation. In essence, the moment anyone starts speaking using institutional rhetoric (the institutionalisation of culture), wearing the corporate branded shirts and implementing ‘policy’ they became an enforcer of that abject oppression.
The second symbols of oppression I wish to reinforce as that of the habit, the frock, the crucifix and for those imbued with an abject rejection of catechism, the baptism. Children stolen from their parents, forced in into domicile enslavement, to scrub the shoes of the first oppressor as the single most perversion of epic proportion.
The sheer magnitude of evil brilliance to engineer an institutional box within which to ‘confess’ as a ‘sinner’ to an unseen form of lately exposed, statistically likely, paedophilia, as evidenced by the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Australia is nothing short of shocking. So now let’s return to how the term ‘native’ disembodied Aboriginal people of ‘title’, in itself a cipher of criminal activity. With both ears listening, this nation of nations, this land of incredible Aboriginal diversity, of language and the world’s oldest culture how could anyone knowingly carve their name into this country using’ ‘title’, ‘deed’ and ‘lease’?
Another symbol of such magnitude is the Akubra hat, seemingly innocuous as a utilitarian tool to protect one’s balding head, in itself a sensible way of protection from the sun’s rays. However, to willingly choose to place such a potent symbol with associations to the pastoral occupation of Australia, the second most recognised dispossession of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands, to place it on one’s head creates surely an almost surreal juxtaposition, yet, unwittingly some Aboriginal people cop the very same criticism they sought to escape by wearing it.
In the same context, it beggars belief that in order to prove ‘ownership’ a ‘landholder’ had to fence in their ‘allotment’ and maintain their ‘capital’…and so the use of language itself became the very surest way to enforce oppression, time immemorial.
To pit one nation, clan, mob against another as anthropologically facilitated ‘proof’ of tie to country is surely the third form of oppression in this discussion. To that degree, I also know of anthropologically facilitated genealogical collections that are locked to the very same non Aboriginal individual, effectively cutting off significantly important cultural information by means of legal statute.
“…AIATSIS commenced in 1961 with an interim Council. An Act of Parliament in 1964 established the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS), with a twenty-two member, primarily academic, Council and a foundation membership of 100.” (aiatsis.gov.au/about-us/our-history)
It was an act of Parliament that created a museum, an institution in a fake city, to fill with cultural artefacts in collections which in some instances can only be accessed by anthropologists and other non-Aboriginal people.
Personally I have no time for those who hold forward their credentials as an anthropologist most especially those when asked to defend the very peoples they purport to ‘know’, claim ‘compromise’ if they reveal anything they have embodied. To live on a wage, contract or other annexure of a ‘land corporation’ or ‘council’ is simply and utterly unethical. To facilitate the force of ‘proof’ of identity is to perpetrate a crime of the highest magnitude when those who have traditional ties to country already have Law, allodial since Boogaragara. (Boogaragara; meaning ‘beginning’).
Anthropologists who feed on ‘native title’ will historically be considered, associated and forever reviled as evil as a frocked Jesuit ramming a religious right as wrong.
Commensurately, those who force genealogical ‘proof’ and falsely profit from the removal of Aboriginal Traditional Custodians from country will also most certainly burn in a hell of disembodied ‘other’ people as Sartre reminds us. Those with no tie to any Judaic vernacular will transcend this binary ‘native title’ as surely as anthropologists will become the ‘apologists’ damned eternally for want of a better solitary confinement.
Which brings the discussion to its lateral findings begging a better ‘solution’.
In listening, we are witnessing in 2018 the worst of genocide as individuals are denied their identity by being forced through those political hoops of Mormon genealogy. With whole communities forced at gunpoint off country, bulldozed 20 from their successive refuge, denied compensation at all (except for the ‘yes’ voting few) for possession to facilitate mining mayhem, we, as individuals each have a responsibility to act in a manner that rejects such abomination, such evil.
In his seminal letter to all Countrymen and First Nation Peoples, Ronald Roe, Walman Yawuru descendant, Goolarabooloo Elder, Broome, Western Australia states:
“…The purpose of this Milli Milli is of interest in that justice should prevail. 21 Let’s all stand united in protecting our beliefs.”
Native Title in Australia is considered by many senior Aboriginal Elders, Leaders and Law Bosses I have met face-to-face to be nothing more than a ‘legal’ cloak with which to ‘reframe’ and ‘key’ Aboriginal Australians into extinction, to frack its precious ground water, poison its country. Many examples of this rejection of Native Title is spoken, written and transmitted in visual forms by Leaders of First Nations people in a global context, Australia included.
By constantly shifting the goalposts, the Australian government, a seemingly one party fascist regime, continues to careen around drunk on its own stupidity. Countless examples of oppression of its peoples are enshrined in United Nations records of its treatment of refugees seeking shelter from its own complicitness in war, in its imprisonment of children in detention centres and now in the abhorrent treatment of its very own First Nation peoples (Hayes, A.(2016). Don Dale: We Are Each Responsible). In that regard, I am astounded by how many Aboriginal people continue identify using the term ‘apical’ which is historically (invented in 1820–30) in its own right an anthropological construct of colonising language based in a ‘western’ science, comprised of:
1820–30; < Latin apic – (stem of apex) apex + al
Colonial possession of this country is a stolen array of generations sick and malignant with viperous insidiousness. Automation of the technologically enhanced industrial cancer that sweeps and burrows this country, an artificially informed Uberveillance is now a sign of the end of the Anthropocene so the Singularity vipers would have us believe.
The fact is Aboriginal Australians will still and always remain Traditional Custodians, alive and woven into place, a spiritually rich landmass that will heal itself. Australian Native Title on the other hand is already defunct, redundant, evil by design and catastrophically perpetuating and inflicting the worst possible genocide evidenced when one mob, one or more clans smash the other into oblivion.
My position is clear, in that I encourage every individual to act in a peaceful resistance by expression as revolt, standing forward on this issue not succumb to an oppressive servitude. Some would say that those who have suffered under the enactment of Native Title as having been ‘hoodwinked’ and others might sardonically use a far more loaded term well established in colonial language, being that of ‘whitewashed’.
Yours in in utter contempt of this ‘Australian Native Title’, an obvious, unethical and government enforced act of genocide, since its inception.
Alexander Hayes, PhD
This article was originally published on Figshare.
Alexander Hayes has worked with and for many communities across Australia and New Zealand involving numeracy, literacy, life skills and creative arts practice projects over the last 25 years.
As a photographer, filmmaker, web developer, data scientist his work includes social justice programs with young people, online web development with communities and extensive public works programs involving NGO’s. As a researcher he has for over a decade been investigating the socio-ethical impact of wearable technologies in a number of domains including policing, law enforcement, education and training.
In 2016 Alexander was given the Aboriginal name ‘Malkay’ as testament to his own life lessons and to his continuing close relationship with the Nyikina community of the Kimberley region, Western Australia.
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