If “Ray”and “R. Henry” believe that sacred sites are being …

Comment on Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred? by Russell Guy.

If “Ray”and “R. Henry” believe that sacred sites are being sold out for economic gain, then let them provide examples and/or details.
If so, then perhaps the TOs should comment. Maybe, they or their delegates are forced into partaking in an economy by this method and that should be investigated.
This seems to me, at least, a more balanced way of allowing comments that strike at an indigenous belief system to be made public by social media.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred?
@ Hal: You may well know the old historical truth which still applies in terms of not acknowledging a sacred site for fear of it being destroyed.
This complicates what is far from a straight-forward Western approach to land management, even appearing to be non-logical in reasoning, either through faith and/or politics.
In the Hindmarsh Island affair, which Chris Kenny addressed in a book-length account at the time, the situation begged the question of whether a TO can be judged in bad faith according to non-subscriber standards, given the historical persecution.
That was along the lines of what I am trying to say in my initial comment about bad faith.
Since my last comment, my attention has been drawn to a recently published book by Stephen Bennetts, “The Right to Protect Sites: Indigenous Heritage Management in the Era of Native Title” (pub. 2016, AIATSIS).
It offers an insight into how complicated preserving the Melanka site could become under existing legislation.
Constitutional Recognition is a step towards preserving Dreaming heritage, whereby some of the intense social pressure may be taken off TOs and indigenous communities, more especially if we can find some way of interpreting Keating’s Redfern Speech in the spirit of which it was made.

Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred?
This has gone beyond what I intended to say about a complex situation, but to clarify the point about bad faith.
The only incident involving a fabrication of a Sacred Site that I can recall was the Hindmarsh Island affair in 1994, which had repercussions for the South Australian community involved and led to a Royal Commission.
It had political repercussions for the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and the Keating Government, before Keating went on to make his famed Redfern Speech.
The point about bad faith in any spiritual complex is that it has consequences regardless of whether the person(s) involved are aware of it or not.
In the 1980s, the tail of the Ntyarke ancestral caterpillar, where they crossed Barrett Drive was cut by roadworks.
Around the same time, whilst working at CAAMA, we reported on how subdivision in the Gap was threatening trees sacred to Yeperenye where they emerged as butterflies, like children from school, as it was explained by the TOs at the time.
There are many such stories in recent times of TOs advice failing to be heeded, including of late, the issue I drew Hal Duell’s attention to with Doris Stuart and my comment about pressure to partake of an economy. Informed people can read between the lines without having to have it spelled out in great detail.
I do not personally know of any examples of bad faith in the Alice, which is why I challenged “Ray” and “R. Henry” to put up, but the point is that pressure has been applied since whitefellers arrived for compromise on sacred sites.
The affect of this suppression has taken its toll on many indigenous people of course, including many of my friends who have tried their best to remain true to their Dreamning inheritance.
They have not acted in bad faith, nor they are infallible in conscience, but the trees at the Melanka site are one of the remaining places where something can be done to restore faith in the Dreaming in this town.
As I said at the beginning, this is a complex area, as is the current challenge to absolution within the framework of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the Sexual Abuse Royal Commission, but it seems to me that some people don’t want to understand as Lindsay Ross has commented.
The consequences of bad faith are not just applicable to Dreaming subscribers.

Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred?
@ Hal,
If you care to read in context, you might note that I was careful to distinguish doctrinal matters in the examples given, but if you want to go on to comparisons between the Dreaming and Catholicism that’s your business.
The only point I attempted to make about faith is that it can belie logical reasoning to a non-subscriber.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
It was about a quarter of a century ago – how time flies – a few years before I undertook a postgraduate Master of Social Science degree in sociology, anthropology and cross-cultural psychology (JCU, 2000), published the core of my thesis as BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES: A History of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission 1940-1962 (Boolarong Press, Brisbane).
And it was before I did a further five years, primarily in alcohol dependency mentoring at a remote Central Australian community, this after 15 years of working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations around the country, mainly producing recordings and events for indigenous dance bands, that I thought that Alice Springs would become a kind of New York.
People from all over the US move to the Big Apple in search of greater opportunity for their dreams and aspirations and it’s no different among the Indigenous of Central Australia.
But I wonder if local town planners have factored this movement into their vision for the future?
Not so long ago, the too-often criticised police were talking about moving youth back to their communities, but the word is out that the purposelessness and abuse associated with these desert satellites is causing enough concern to render assisted passage to somewhere else.
These problems were first mooted, to my knowledge, by R M Williams in the 1930s who noted that the desert tribes were on a collision course with liberal alcohol supply.
Fast forward to the Gunner Government acting on most of the Riley Report recommendations (with the notable exception of banning Sunday takeaway).
It’s no coincidence that one of the most troubled neighbourhoods in Tennant Creek, where Sunday takeaway is currently under emergency extension, is referred to as “the Bronx.”
It’s early days in the implementation of various supply reduction measures, but 40 years of critical mass in the alcohol supply infrastructure cannot be exonerated for the Shakespearean tragedy of progressive Western values.
Beyond the alcohol plague, assuming that it will be reeled in, governments will have to give thought to how remote community families and former alcoholics will be accommodated in towns like Alice Springs, with attendant social support and employment opportunity.
The concept of safe or dry, no grog houses or Mandatory Rehabilitation Centres, will need to be extended to entire neighbourhoods, rising above the refugee or migrant settlements of yore.
This type of housing estate requires considerable financing, planning and input if it is to be built and assisted to succeed above the expectations of many of those who are complicit in causing the tragedy of lost generations and future opportunity.
It will transform the current vision of Alice Springs, but first of all, it needs to be put on the drawing board.
Ursula Le Guin, the novelist who passed away a couple of months ago, recently said: “I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.
“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”
Tracker was one. Surely, we can learn from what defeated his vision or the Enlightenment has bitten the dust.

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
I spoke to Tracker a few times during the Robert Tickner period. One of his more infamous quotes was referring to Aboriginal people as a farm for whitefellers to manage and be well paid for producing the current tragedy.
Quite a few informed commentators are now talking about assisting those who want to move from remote communities into towns where employment and education opportunities either exist or could be set up to end the hopelessness and various forms of abuse that can go with a purposeless life on a remote community.
More than one is talking about overcrowded housing as a major cause of dysfunction. I’m stating the obvious.
If Alice was to be a centre for remote community refugees to retrain, restart and realise a future, who would build the houses and where would they be built?
Who would pay the electricity bills while the transition is fostered?
Would Tangentyere and other organisations be resourced to manage this situation?
Could it even be done?
Tracker seemed to think so.
The Federal Government did it to resettle migrants.
I recall Bob Beadman saying a couple of years ago that alcoholism would bankrupt the NT, or words to that affect and finally, we have a floor price, but in moving from generational alcoholism to the provision of basic housing, it appears that there are too many hard questions not being asked or acted upon.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
@ Fiona: There’s some kind of irony in appealing for symbolic unity under an Aboriginal flag when Kittles, an Aboriginal-owned company is continuously trashed by children of Native Title holders.
It suggests that there’s some other law at work and that trying to construct a body of politically-inspired law has limited chances of changing anything.
Whilst I don’t doubt the sincerity of your attempt to unify, I make the suggestion that the practical method of law enforcement, alcohol supply reduction and housing in Alice Springs for those who may wish to leave remote communities for education and employment opportunities in town has better prospects than adding to the divisions on the hill.

Chamber of Commerce in a grog Catch 22
@ Paul Parker, posted 1st March, 2018 at 6:49am: How appropriate was ‘Sit-down money’ and the ‘Two kilometer law’, Paul?
Do you absolve the critical mass of take-away outlets in the 5km radius of the CBD as having any impact on the situation you describe?
Generational alcoholism has something to do with the present historical ennui and the police have stated that they can’t arrest their way out of it, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on failures to deal appropriately with intoxication and disturbing the peace.

Bush foods: how can wild harvesters get a piece of the pie?
Good one.

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