@ Hal: You may well know the old historical truth …

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

@ 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.

Russell Guy Also Commented

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.


Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred?
To attempt to answer your question, Hal, the nature of Traditional Owners (TOs), as anyone following Doris Stuart’s input to the new installation on the riverbank might understand, is to speak for sacred sites within their authority.
That authority is vested in the Dreaming as a spiritual belief system, much like, but different in doctrine to others, e.g., Buddhism, Islam, Christian, Hindu, etc.
Persons who do not ascribe to that belief system, either by birth or faith, would be expected to speak from a lesser authority.
A TO, I believe, cannot speak in bad faith.


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Alcohol floor price may breach Australian Constitution
The fact that no action is being taken by the Winemakers Federation, preferring instead to work with the NT Government; that there have been no casks larger than two litres in the NT for several years and in Alice Springs for several more, because they are banned, we should be encouraged by their example, along with other retailers who have shown similar intent.
Tourist tipple and alcohol problems in the NT are interrelated. In a recent post, I pointed out the illogic of sacrificing current levels of visible alcohol-related harm to the tourist economy, which will only cause further decline.
The Mandatory Treatment Act (2013), since repealed, highlighted how harmful and disempowering alcohol restrictions can be, particularly where Indigenous communities have not been involved in their development.
While Steve Brown appears to consider it a “do gooder” issue and appeals for ice containment, he ignores the need for alcohol supply restriction in the general community, a product, it could be argued, of laissez faire capitalism over 50 years, culminating in corner stores trading in takeaway alcohol seven days a week.
Mr Brown compounds his approach by wishing that crystal methamphetamine (ice) was not a problem, allegedly within Indigenous communities.
It would be better if he, and others of a similar opinion, evinced the same desire for alcohol management through community coalitions backed by government regulation or government‐initiated community partnerships, which according to a recent article in the Australian and New Zealand Public Health Journal, “have been successful in harnessing local knowledge and Indigenous social systems to curb the unintended impacts of alcohol regulation”.
The article revealed that improved health and social outcomes, for example, by tethering demand reduction programs to supply restrictions had been achieved.
Outrage over the disempowerment of Grey Nomads to purchase a cask of cheap wine, while the harmful use of alcohol among Territorians continues at levels in excess of the national average, ignores the possibility of a community-led solution, even when governments repeal poorly consulted legislation such as the MTA.
In the mid-1980s, Territorians died from being stabbed by glass flagons. Casks were introduced by governments working with the winemakers and less harm eventuated.
It didn’t curtail harmful levels of consumption, nor the granting of takeaway licenses, but the NT Government, acting on recommendations from Justice Riley’s Report, is facing up to the cost of those unacceptable levels and investigating ways of working with the underlying cultural problems.
Learning from history on which evidence-based legislation like soft packaging and a demand reduction floor price is based seems more appropriate than sticking one’s head in the sand.


Ice Age in Alice
Four balls coming back over the net. Policy on the run.
@ Local 1: Comparing Queensland with the NT is apples and oranges. Been crossing the border all my life, not just for a week.
@ Steve Brown: I want to see evidence for your claims, not just anecdotal. Been there.
@ John Bell: Commonsense has been missing in action and @ Paul Parker, same thing.
Tolerance, common sense and reason were the founding values of the European Enlightenment. Not going well.
Finally, to all, I speak for myself, not for PAAC, whose evidence-based campaign assisted the NT Government in micro-managing the issue of liberal alcohol supply with a floor price. The claim that it makes all alcohol more expensive is incorrect.


Ice Age in Alice
The floor price is not a “silver bullet.”
There is none. There are only a suite of measures to reduce levels of supply, including the BDR.
A floor price targets the cheapest alcohol sold, mostly cask wine, consumed by the most desperate addicts, including pregnant women.
Canada and Scotland have a floor price.
It was introduced this week in the NT after a long evidence-based campaign.
Cynicism is an easy choice, but I’ve been involved in reducing alcohol-related harm in the NT since 1986 when I produced four songs with Indigenous band, Coloured Stone for the NT Road Safety Board.
If you allow yourself to get cynical and negative about drugs, of which alcohol is one of the most prevalent, then you might as well accept the carnage as inevitable.
Take the opposition over the recent Master’s Games request by the police for light and midstrength beer.
One of your readers posted anonymously, calling those who lobby to turn the tap down a “mob” who are only interested in prohibition. That’s hysteria.
The NT Government is currently looking into the seven days a week take away grog licensing regime.
Australia has a culture of alcoholism, particularly around sport.
Changing that culture, currently costing NT taxpayers $640m p.a. is a positive step towards putting money into ice rehab.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
@ “Ray”. My argument for turning the tap down (not off, as you insinuate with your anonymous post), exposes your confusion, but it clarifies one point.
It will be hypocritical for you to point to the Indigenous as being responsible for the town’s social problems again.
While you busy yourself over being “the laughing stock of the country”, the hospital and police records continue to speak for themselves and show no sign of abating, due to what is a culture of alcoholism.
It was the police who requested light and midstrength beer be served at this sporting event.
As an attendee at last Friday’s National Police Remembrance Day, the names of those officers who were killed in the line of duty was sobering, yet they who we appoint to serve and protect are fobbed off.
Justifying the capitulation on the economy and giving back to the “community” is evidence of your confusion, but as cultural tourism is the vogue, it will be interesting to see how long before you start referring to “the section of the community that has the issue” again.


Apex Club ‘fenced out’ of running Masters Games bars
Why such despondency, “Ray”?
The streets of Alice Springs are paved with gold if you have eyes to see.
They need not be awash with the consequences of alcoholism.
Turn the tap down (not off) and you will see how a great town can come back from fifty years of an uncapped flow.


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