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INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS

The ring trees of Victoria’s Watti Watti people are an extraordinary part of our heritage

 Ring trees were made by binding young branches of young trees with reeds. As the tree grew,it formed a ring. Tim Church/Timmy Church Films. In the forests of Watti Watti Country of north-west Victoria, you can find trees, typically ancient river red gums, with their branches trained by the Watti Watti people to form rings. There is little knowledge about these marker...

Getting a heart check early can prevent heart attack and stroke in Indigenous Australians

Only around half of at-risk Indigenous Australians are taking preventative medication for heart disease. Most heart attacks and strokes can be prevented with appropriate treatment. Yet heart disease, including heart attacks, causes 13% of deaths among Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and is a major contributor to the gap in life expectancy with non-Indigenous Australians. New findings from a...

Indigenous treaties are meaningless without addressing the issue of sovereignty

Victoria’s proposed Indigenous treaty may run into problems over the issue of Aboriginal sovereignty. James Ross/AAP Ironically, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s rejection of the 2017 Statement from the Heart, proposing more meaningful national engagement with Indigenous peoples, has accelerated demands for a treaty process across the country. Victoria and the Northern Territory have both moved ahead on this front in recent weeks. But enthusiasm for treaties at...

Tony Albert’s politically charged kitsch collection confronts our racist past

Tony Albert Girramay/Yidinji/Kuku Yalanji peoples. Australia Qld/NSW b.1981. Mid Century Modern (series) 2016. Pigment prints | 24 works: 100 x 100cm (each) Collection: The artist. Courtesy: Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney The collector dreams his way not only into a distant or bygone world but also into a better one. -Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project. Seeking exile from the growing anti-Semitism in his native Germany,...

Traditional Aboriginal healers should work alongside doctors to help close the gap

Indigenous Australians have a strong relationship with the natural world. from shutterstock.com The wellbeing of Indigenous people is based around having the freedom and resources to practise cultural ways of being. While some of these can seem removed from those in the West – such as the lack of materialism, primacy of kin and a close relationship to the natural world –...

Mabo Day on Sunday 3 June 2018, Deakin Edge, Federation Square.

Join with the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal communities in Victoria to celebrate one of the most significant dates on the Indigenous calendar, Mabo Day on Sunday 3 June 2018, Deakin Edge, Federation Square. Hosted by the multi-talented Lisa Maza (of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage), this free family friendly concert will feature performances by the acclaimed Torres Strait Islander dance...

Alexis Wright wins 2018 Stella Prize for Tracker, an epic feat of Aboriginal storytelling

Alexis Wright, author of Tracker: a book written in the mode and genre of Aboriginal storytelling. Stella Prize Alexis Wright’s book Tracker: Stories of Tracker Tilmouth has won the 2018 Stella Prize. Tracker is, in Wright’s words, an attempt to tell an “impossible story”, using the voices of many people to reflect on the life of Tilmouth, a central and visionary figure in...

Indigenous voices are speaking loudly on social media but racism endures

Drawing by Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND Social media are a vital resource for Indigenous Australians, connecting them to community and culture, helping identify those at risk of suicide or self-harm, and offering a powerful outlet for political activism. But racism is a major problem for Indigenous people online. A new report, Social Media Mob: Being Indigenous Online, unpacks the complex role social...

The origins of Pama-Nyungan, Australia’s largest family of Aboriginal languages

The spread of Pama-Nyungan was likely influenced by climate. Shutterstock.com The approximately 400 languages of Aboriginal Australia can be grouped into 27 different families. To put that diversity in context, Europe has just four language families, Indo-European, Basque, Finno-Ugric and Semitic, with Indo-European encompassing such languages as English, Spanish, Russian and Hindi. Australia’s largest language family is Pama-Nyungan. Before 1788 it...

A modern and united Australia must shift its national day from January 26

We must change the date of Australia Day again again if we want to achieve a national day that unifies all Australians.  Increased momentum around changing the date of Australia Day reflects a growing sense that January 26 is symbolic of the Australia we used to be, not the Australia we hope to become. Recent moves to promote changing the...

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