Welcome to another addition of Notable Blogs. If there is a focus in today’s post, it is justice. This keeps with a theme in recent posts, namely the need for a Just Therapy, and an awareness by clinicians that social and economic forces act to limit the options of many clients, especially Indigenous people. Healers and elders know this, but many clinicians underestimate the effects of history on Indigenous people.
We begin with the arts!
Kurungabaa told us of a recently published book:
Risky business, writing from the space between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal voices and identities. But what I found when browsing the local library was a total find, one of those op-shop gems, a treasure much-loved, freshly shelved. And I hear a voice say ‘risk exists only in relation to reward’.
Recently published, Singing the Coast flows between oral stories and written text, unfolding the research undertaken over ten years by Margaret Somerville interviewing and spending time with many Gumbaynggirr people (northern NSW, around what is known on the printed map as Coffs Harbour). She collaborated with Tony Perkins to record his substantial body of cultural knowledge as a Garby elder. Stories of creation and rebirth, massacre, crying songs and landscape as language are told and retold, sometimes opening into faceted and fractal visions, and sometimes emptying into the unknowable histories of dispossession and lost opportunity. Or into what won’t be spoken.
Bensonsaulo posted an interview with Don Bemrose, an Aboriginal Australian opera singer:
I recently had the absolute pleasure of meeting and interviewing Australia’s foremost Male Aboriginal Classical Artist, Don Bemrose. Don is a classically trained Opera Singer with amazing talent and aspirations of becoming Australia’s leading Opera Singer on the World Stage. Don grew up in a small Hinterland town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, a proud Gungarri man whose family hail from the Cherbourg Aboriginal community.
An easy-going young man with a mischievous smile and great sense of humor which is common when growing up around the Aboriginal Community. It was immediately obvious that Don is a man who likes to tell a story when he broke into immediate laughter after I sat down and asked about his early days and particularly how a young Aboriginal man becomes an Opera singer.
Activist writer notes the publication of a photo essay on the Lakota people at Pine Ridge:
The suffering of indigenous peoples is the cause of photojournalist Aaron Huey, who documents the poverty experienced by the Lakota in his photo essay, “Pine Ridge.”
Intercontinental Cry reported on efforts by women in the Lake Tyres community to challenge the authority of colonial government and secure self-determination.
For the past two weeks, Indigenous women from the community of Lake Tyers, in East Gippsland, Victoria, have been holding a blockade against the state government’s self-imposed rule over their community.
The blockade officially went up on March 8, International Women’s Day, in an effort to stop the government-appointed administrator (a consultant from the UK private company, Deloitte) and his staff from gaining entry to the community.
For the past six years, Lake Tyers has been governed by a policy similar to the Northern Territory Intervention; a policy that, the Women say, is an insult to Elders and their own rights and aspirations as Indigenous Peoples.
Rorybaker spoke to the racism inherent in Australia’s legal and penal systems. The statistics could just as easily be from Canada or the U.S.:
When we realize that our prisons are full of Indigenous Australians, people suffering from mental illness or disability, people suffering from addiction, and people from CALD communities… we must question the very grounds of the justice system in Australia.
Perhaps primary among the ways First Nations people have resisted efforts to erase our cultures, and thus, us, is through the proactive of our religions. Of course, practicing our religions was for may years illegal. In some contexts, it still is. Stand Up for Canada announced a conference about the problems facing First Nations inmates who wish to practice traditional religion within prisons:
On Monday, March 28, from 3 to 5 PM, Seattle University Law School’s Center for Indian Law and Policy and Native American Law Students’ Association’s will host tribal leaders, State Department of Corrections representatives, Indian prison chaplains and other tribal religious leaders, prisoners’ and civil rights advocates, and religious academics, for a program: “Protecting the Right of Native and Indian Inmates Incarcerated in the State of Washington Prison System to Engage in Traditional Ceremonies and Religious Practices.”
Tenthingsivelearned presented a spot on guestpost by Lillian Jones, “Ten things I’ve learned while working at a First Nations substance abuse – residential school trauma treatment centre”.
One of the ways I express appreciation for writers is to feature them in “Notable Blogs”. I hope you will visit these writers, and perhaps leave them a note of gratitude and encouragement for their fine work. As there is no way I can read all the great writing on the web, please let me know of blogs you believe should be noted here.