"They are warm, caring, inquisitive, fair, funny, but somehow they are all getting into trouble." In the wake of the tragic shooting of Kumunjayi Walker in Yuendumu, youth worker RAINER CHLANDA tells the story of a five day camp out bush with young Warlpiri people who are in contact, as Walker was, with the justice system. He asks, “How do we change whatever has led to these good kids behaving so badly?”
The laid-back, slow, lazy mood in the outback town of Yuendumu can snap into one of high drama and heart-wrenching emotion in the blink of an eye. Today, the 50th anniversary of the Yuendumu Sports, was such a day. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
A 50% not 10% royalty for Aborigines from mining anywhere in the Territory, not just on the half under granted under land rights; immediate distribution to traditional owners of the Centrecorp assets worth tens of millions of dollars; and a five billion dollar national future fund as compensation for Indigenous people: These are part of the fiery agenda of Maurie Japarta Ryan (pictured). The new chairman of the Central Land Council and the founder of the Australian First Nations Political Party spoke with Alice Springs News Online editor ERWIN CHLANDA.
The cover of The Long Weekend in Alice Springs suggests that the story between its covers will be road trip. And it is one, of sorts. You won’t find these roads on any map but they will lead you into the byways of this desert place, reaching back through history into stories of origin, reaching out through darkness, real and metaphoric, into stories of now. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
How could a man designated Protector of Aborigines end up leading a revenge party that would shoot at least 31 of them, including women and children, and probably many more, in retaliation for the death of one white man? It is a question that preoccupies a white Australian audience but the film Coniston does not try to answer it. Nor does it look in much detail into the broad context of the infamous event it is concerned with – the last white on black massacre in Australia, starting at Coniston, about 250 kms north-west of Alice Springs, in 1928. The one hour documentary, that includes dramatised sequences, focusses instead on capturing the oral history of the massacre held by Warlpiri, Anmatyerr and Kaytetye people. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
"Yuendumu has seen its troubles / We don't need no more fighting / how about we, Warlpiri, start uniting?"
Three young hip-hop artists from Yuendumu went to the heart of the matter when they took to the stage on Saturday, as part of the line-up at The Hub, the "heart" of the Alice Desert Festival's program.
The music was mostly of a different flavour but the Desert Divas, who followed Red Sand in the program, were equally proud and hopeful: "We know where we come from / we know where we stand ... we're making our future / creating a change" went the lyrics of their group song. – KIERAN FINNANE
An inter-cultural festival grows deep in the desert. Something like it is mooted for Alice Springs. What can we learn from our northern neighbours?
"Fire is the glow of life. The four winds – from north, south, east, west – control the fire, control us. Milpirri is the story that will ignite the fire of who they are."
'They' are the participants in the Milpirri Festival whose fourth manifestation will be staged at Lajamanu, in the northern reaches of the Tanami Desert, halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, in October this year.
Speaking was the festival's artistic director, Steve Patrick Jampijinpa, a son of the community and a former school teacher there, now a research fellow at the Australian National University. Mr Patrick gave the keynote address at this week's forum on experimentation and innovation in desert arts.
The motto of the festival is "speak to the land, the land will speak back", he said. The next image he invoked (that I caught from his softly spoken speech delivered as a string of beautiful metaphors) was of "hot air rising, cold air falling" – a metaphor for coming together, possibly in a thunderhead – a "voluminous cloud full of fury".
In coming together "there'll always be a bit of a rough time" but out of the clouds comes "life-giving rain".
That rain has grown the festival, a joint effort of the community and the Darwin-based Tracks Dance Company which has been working with the Warlpiri people of Lajamanu since 1988. So Milpirri is "an inter-cultural venture". KIERAN FINNANE reports.