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Positive support April 10, 2006

Posted by campsovereignty in Support.

Below are some letters of support that were published on The Age website. Thanks to the crew out there spreading the positive word!

We should all embrace Camp Sovereignty 

MR HOWARD, I am curious as to what you mean by "I don't think that sort of thing should be allowed" (The Age, 8/4), with reference to the Aboriginal tent embassy in Kings Domain. What "sort of thing" exactly?

Yes, the time has come where the indigenous people of this country are no longer going to be swept under the carpet or put into the "too hard basket". Yes, it must be a little confronting to consider people living in the park. But I ask, by whose standards?

This is exactly the kind of religious persecution and colonial, Eurocentric perspective that resulted in the genocide that has taken place in this country since the "first landing", and the forced removal of indigenous children from their homes.

"These are the sorts of things that really set back the cause of reconciliation because it's the unacceptable face, in a way, of reconciliation," you say. "The sensible face is where you co-operate to try to remedy wrongs and help people become part of the community in the fullest possible sense."

I again ask you, Mr Howard, who are you, yourself, to determine what the "acceptable face of reconciliation" might be? You won't even recognise the injustices your Government's rule has caused. What are you doing, exactly, to right the wrongs?

The indigenous people at Camp Sovereignty are acting in a self-determined way, demonstrating how it is that reconciliation is possible, and how it is that living indigenous culture can, in fact, in reality become a "part of the community in the fullest possible sense".

Captain Cook has a cottage and grounds dedicated to his memory. In essence, how does Camp Sovereignty differ? Where is that home for urban indigenous peoples to come together to practise their living culture?

I ask the community and Mr Howard to consider how Camp Sovereignty can benefit and enrich the culture of Melbourne — a city that is built on values of tolerance, respect and celebration of different cultural practices. Camp Sovereignty is an example of the very heart of Australian culture, a place where we can participate in indigenous culture not through looking at it hanging on a wall or on a stage, but by exchanging with elders, hearing Dreaming stories, engaging in ceremony or sharing a meal. Not hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, removed from the urban lifestyle. But in our town.

I feel we should be honoured.
Mandy Field, Brunswick

A perfect opportunity 

CAMP Sovereignty, which was supposed to be a symbol of Aboriginal law and religion, has developed into another representation of Government incompetence when dealing with the sensitive issue of indigenous culture. Instead of recognising the camp as the perfect opportunity to memorialise Aboriginal culture, the Government has found a way of making this into another grudge for the indigenous people and supporters of indigenous rights to hold against this country.Why does the discourse between Government and indigenous groups always have to be one of mutual distrust? Why do unimportant bylaws impede the nurturing of a relationship between two estranged factions of society? Why can a compromise never be reached?
Oscar Schwartz (17), Toorak

Converted to the cause 

THANKS, Mr Howard. At first I didn't think that continuing the camp in Kings Domain was a good idea. But your high-handed and arrogant approach to the issue — talking about a group of indigenous people as if they are noxious weeds — has convinced me otherwise. Long may the fire burn as a constant reminder of whose land we have stolen and as a reproach to the Federal Government and its apologists.
Vanda Hamilton, East Melbourne



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