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HomeIssue 38Whitegate: nation born under a tin shelter?

Whitegate: nation born under a tin shelter?

p2165-whitegate-shelterBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Autochthonous people from Whitegate are taking their plight to the United Nations, the USA, UK, Russia and the European Union.
If you don’t know the word autochthonous you’re in good company. It means “indigenous rather than descended from migrants or colonists”. It is in the text, prepared by legal advisors to similar movements around Australia, of Whitegate’s “declaration of sovereignty and self-determination” of the State of Undoolya.
This move may be a flight of fancy of the families owning the camp under Aboriginal law. But the group, whose despair with all the bodies set up to help them is genuine, bitter and deep, is giving it a shot, anyway.
A similar declaration was made by the Armstrong family group in January last year, for land west of Alice Springs, on the Iwupataka Land Trust, popularly known as the Golden Mile.
The NT Government  recently had the water turned off to Whitegate and told people to leave, after half a century of occupancy despite lack of a formal lease.
p2165-whitegate-FelicityThe sovereignty declaration was signed and sealed yesterday by a group of 12 who met in 40 degree heat under a corrugated iron shelter, in the now all but deserted camp on the eastern edge of Alice Springs. They were doing their best to keep a mangy dog and a goat away from the sandwiches they had brought for lunch.
They may not be up to speed on international law, and what the result of their application will be is anyone’s guess.
But they couldn’t be any clearer about traditional law for Whitegate: Felicity Hayes, the most senior person, has in her head the precise sequence of power transfers over generations.
All other members defer to her.
She leaves no doubt that this order is more important than money or non-Aboriginal arrangements.
She is happy to explain the complicated structure of responsibilities, and to assist understanding refers to a diagram in a book published by IAD press, Kin and Skin.
That she means business was underscored on Wednesday when Mrs Hayes and several other Whitegate people plus supporters, fronted up at the Convention Centre where 25 to 30 members of the town’s Mbantua moiety were holding a meeting. Apparently it was going to deal with Whitegate land issues.
According to two witnesses, Connie Craig and Frank Ansell, Mrs Hayes walked into the room and announced that the meeting was over.
She accused people at the meeting, Ian Conway and Rosalie Kunoth Monks – an activist of national acclaim – that they had no traditional right to meddle in Whitegate affairs.
The Mbantua members accepted the verdict and stopped the meeting.
I asked Mrs Hayes yesterday whether this was an accurate account of the events and she confirmed it was.
Mrs Hayes says her group sees no point in seeking help from Australian governments, the Central Land Council nor Lhere Artepe, the town’s native title organisation set up following a Federal Court case – Hayes v Northern Territory (23 May 2000).
The case bears the name of Mrs Hayes’s aunt, Myra, who was a long time resident at Whitegate.
p2165-whitegate-groupMrs Hayes also says her group will have nothing to do with the so-called National Summit for Freedom to be held in Alice Springs next week, run by interstate activists Tauto Sansbury, Geoff Clark and Michael Mansell.
The Alice Springs News Online has left messages for Mr Conway and Mrs Kunoth-Monks to offer right of reply, but has not received responses so far. We will report any responses when and if they are received.
PHOTOS (from top): The meeting yesterday • Mrs Hayes with a map of the area the group is seeking sovereignty over • The area, east of Alice Springs. It is about 3km long and 2km wide.  The general area was once considered by a previous NT government for a new suburb. Mrs Hays says leasing some of it for housing could be considered if the group gets control • The group. In the background it Whitegate’s water tank – now no longer connected to a pipe.


  1. Where is ‘Strength in numbers’ here? ‘Unity is strength’? ‘Solidarity’? It is very sad to see a failure of leadership in this matter. What can explain or justify this seemingly infantile behaviour?
    Surely people can try to co-operate together, put aside some differences for the greater good of their people?
    Working with LAAC and CLC and activists in general to act strongly on the claim would seem to be a more productive avenue than splintering and isolating yourself from both support and reality.

  2. Pagan. The Sovereign Tribes you see here are merely re affirming their Common Law Sovereignty and reclaiming their Sovereign Tribal Lands left to them by their Ancestors DNA.
    This corporation called the Commonwealth of Australia Corporation is a corporation registered offshore in the USA SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (SEC) … PRETENDING to be a government since 1901.
    And this pretend (PIRATE) government was enacted by the UK Westminster Parliament.
    Statute law is maritime law in effect this pirate government is using admiralty law of the sea on land is which is piracy on land.
    Statute law is the law of legalise which is trade on the high seas, this government as a corporation is using corprate ‘law’ against all who live on Autralia in effect using policies and procedures of a corporate governemnt and the Police are their corporate security to police their policies where the name POLICE comes from … real name POLICY ENFORCEMENT AGENCY and every state and territories have their own ABN numbers including the courts for the corporate government.
    And to Bob Durnan: The Untulya tribe is one of the latest Sovereign Tribe of the Arrernte Nation of Sovereign Tribes have a signed and SEALED TREATY with 196 other Original Sovereign Tribes across Australia North South East West and now Centre and these tribes have Created the Original Sovereign Tribal Federation (OSTF) and have taken these TREATIES the the United Nations in Geneva on July 27 2012 and were tabled and filed into the UN as Sovereign States under those treatties invoking the UN Resolution 26 25 Article XXV of self determination.
    At the signing of the documents into the UN the UN Head Office advised our convenors to convey to the Australian Quasi British governments to de colonise Australia forthwith from that day.
    Since these documents the OSTF filed into the UN has also invoked the war crimes commission of the Hague who is watching our Sovereignty.
    WE the OSTF have sent registered letters to every head of state across the globe about the status of our sovereignty and the outcome was unanimous by most of the superpowers including Russia who have been interacting with some of our tribes who have written to Vladmir Putin privately.
    That is why Russian warships came and parked in international waters at the time of the G20.
    The Russians were having conversations by radio with the Sovereign Tribes of Cairns the Yindingi and others.
    There is much more I would like you to know, Bob, but at the moment can you please google a government document Sir Harry Gibb Statement in PDF form and this is only one such document we keep as evidence when we Indict the last four prime Ministers of Australia into The Hague for treason and crimes against humanity.
    I will be attending and opposing the sovereign summit attached to Labor this weekend at the Bungalow (Womans Dreaming place of Trauma). UN officials attending ‘in situ’.
    Cheers, Elatjia

  3. OMG! What a crackpot Elatjia. You sound like you are not a local so keep out of our local issues.
    If your the type of person attending the summit then it might be a good idea for locals to keep away from it.
    Oh, and by the way, I am an Arrernte person and do know what is going on.

  4. @ Original Centralian my skin name is Jakamarra of central Arrernte. business is on as we write. You say you are a person well a person is a whitemans name for a breathing blood flowing Sovereign designed by white people to capture your soul. I have been learning and sharing from other Elders across the country on Tribal Lore to our tribes status across this spiritual place.
    The freedom summit was warned a week before it was opened by tribal ‘business’ men that they were not invited here by tribal lore and the Elders weren’t invited by them. The summit was held on two sorry days, a breach of tribal lore. Two loremen were sent to gather information and discovered that the convenors of the summit were in a deal with the labour government and still ‘fighting’for land rights like biting the hand that feeds them. We the Original Sovereign Tribal Federation (OSTF)have taken it to the global community and we will not be legislated out of existance. We now have the backing of War Crimes Commission of the Hague after evidence presented found Australia is still a british colony and they have to de-colonise Australia since 2012. Tribal knowledge is that I have learnt the whitemans law and with wisdom I and now 200 other Sovereign Tribes across this country are using tribal Lore which we cannot change to assure our Sovereignty in this country. take it as an act of peace. If we don’t do this they will send the army in and they will take it by force. Then we will see who the crackpot is………….

  5. Ha, ha Elatjia, stop it now! Jakamara skin nothing of the sort in Central Arrente skin names. Shoosh now, you’re babbling.

  6. Elatjia,
    You are correct on so many levels. It is sad to see that so many have not done the study required to reach the level of knowledge you have, hopefully one day they will come to realise that Peace and Neutrality is the way to go for the Arrernte Tribe and all other Tribes on this land under Military Occupation.
    Congratulations to you and all your people and just ignore the dissenters who cannot provide a solution or be part of it, but would rather try to tell everyone the Government Corporations and Agencies / Agents have all the power. When will they comprehend they actually have it and gave it away through their own consent and ignorance via contracts / agreements / licences etc which are registered agreements. That’s how they beat you in court every time?

  7. Elatjia
    Posted December 2, 2014 at 9:19 pm
    Please provide links to decision with your main ICC case reference for your claim to having “… the backing of War Crimes Commission of the Hague after evidence presented found Australia is still a British colony and they have to de-colonise Australia since 2012.”
    Decisions of the ICC normally receive considerable publicity, as would any case concerning Australia.


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