Kimberley Land Council visits UK whoseland.com

 
Kimberley Land Council visits UK
November 1998

 
Bulletin: Aboriginal Australian delegation visits Britain
 
A delegation of Aboriginal Australian from the Kimberley region of Western Australia visiting Britain as part of their struggle to establish land rights for Australia's indigenous peoples.
 
Led by Peter Yu , Executive Director, Kimberley Land Council is a strong and trusted voice for Aboriginal people - a growing population of around 300,000 people.
 
Hosted by Pilotlight , the Aboriginal elders spent the week beginning 23rd November in London, meeting with government, human rights and legal figures to discuss Britain's historic responsibility to indigenous Australians.
 
Group Photo of the Four Delegates
The timing of the visit is particularly pertinent as Australia moves towards the Millennium and Centenary of Federation on 2001 and considers its future as a republic, thrusting the entire debate over land ownership into the limelight.
 
The delegation wants to make Britain people aware of the lack of status of Aboriginal Australians in the eyes of the Australian government, which they see as guilty because of abuses of human rights by legislating to extinguish Aboriginal title to land and denying self-determination. They blame Aboriginal poverty and the appalling state of Aboriginal health on this neglect. Aboriginal leaders are increasingly concerned about Australia's advance towards a republic without any recognition of their prior rights of sovereignty and land ownership. Australia is still nominally governed by Her Majesty the Queen through her Governor General.
 
The Kimberley Land Council delegation wants to remind Her Majesty and Parliament of a fiduciary responsibility to them as colonised people.
 
As John Watson, a Fitzroy Valley elder has said: "We have our own law, our language and our ceremonies. I have learned these from my old people. We are not recognised as a distinct people by the Australian government. Now the British are planning to turn their backs on us as if they had nothing to do with our dispossession. The British people must be reminded of this".
 
Statement by Peter Yu ...
Transcript of BBC radio interview ...
 
DELEGATES
 
Peter Yu
 
A Yawru man from Broome and since 1992 the Executive Director of the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) in the Northern Territory. He has been involved in the indigenous movement all his working life holding previous positions as West Kimberley representative on the National Aboriginal Congress, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, currently the Indigenous Land Corporation and the Kimberley Development Commission, as well as an involvement in community affairs in Broome. Ha has a detailed knowledge of the changing Commonwealth and State legislative framework, in particular through his involvement in the development and implementation of native title legislation since 1992.
 
Peter Yu
Joe Brown
 
A Walmajarri man from Fitzroy Crossing and a respected senior Kimberley lawman. He is currently Chair of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre and has been active in seeking the recognition of Aboriginal rights for many years. He has had a deep involvement in community affairs as past Chairman of Junjuwa, Kurnangki and Ngurturwarta communities and brings with him extensive cultural knowledge and the responsibility of representing his elders.
 
Joe Brown
John Watson
 
A Nyigina man from Mt Anderson Station near Derby and a respected Kimberely lawman and community leader. He is currently Special Adviser to the KLC and formerly Chairman of the Council for a total period of ten years. Watson has been a strong advocate for the recognition of Aboriginal rights and has been involved in the struggle for land rights for many years. He has been involved in the establishment of numerous indigenous community organisations in addition to the KLC, including Kimberley Aboriginal law and Culture Centre, the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, Wanang Ngari Resource Centre in Derby, the Nyigina Pastoral Company, the Loom community, and Jarlmadangah Burru community on Mt Anderson Station. As with Mr Brown, he carries with him the responsibility of representing his elders.
 
John Watson
Dr Patrick Sullivan
 
He has attended the Working Group on Indigenous Populations for seven years, observing the drafting of the Declaration by indigenous participants before it was submitted to the UN Human Rights Commission. He has also attended the three sessions of the inter-sessional working group as an observer for KLC and has also assisted indigenous participants from the KLC and Central Land Council, as well as assisting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Commission's special adviser Sarah Pritchard. This combined with his knowledge of the Kimberley and indigenous policy issues qualifies him to act as an adviser to the delegation. He has been involved with the Kimberley indigenous community for many years as an anthropologist on native title claims, a policy adviser on native title, regional agreements and Constitutional matters, and has researched and written widely on these issues. He has worked for the Kimberley Land Council, the Australian National University (at the Northern Australia Research Unit in Darwin), the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths and Custody and the Ngoonjuwah Resource Centre in Halls Creek.
 
Statement by Peter Yu ...
Transcript of BBC radio interview ...

 

 
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