Rolf has produced a very plausible hypothesis, which is supported …

Comment on Blackfellers buggering around whitefellers, where’s the off button? by Bob Durnan.

Rolf has produced a very plausible hypothesis, which is supported by a great deal of anthropological, statistical and circumstantial evidence. In doing so, he has given concise expression to a situation which has been fairly obvious for a very long time.
Small bands of highly territorial hunter-gatherers, or collections of extended families based on those bands, had social dynamics, economic practices, and cultural beliefs and priorities that were antithetical to many aspects of colonial village life (let alone population-dense, highly regimented urban life).
These contradictions are amplified for large numbers of their close descendants, who are now surviving in dominant societies that are based on highly atomised life-styles governed by the bureaucratic necessities of the welfare state under conditions such as class stratifications and other inequalities dictated by monopoly capitalism.
The usually self-destructive “covert resistance” is driven by the alienation and anger produced by this colonisation and exploitation, and complicated by the stresses that erupt in multi-clan sedentary conditions.
The resistance is continually reinforced by deep resentment at the colonial state’s counter measures, and compounded by its challenges to traditional patriarchal privileges and their accompanying physical punishment-based problem solving.
The whole shebang is hauled along by the pleasures of cash-fuelled habitual drug consumption and gambling addictions, and subconscious thrills derived from violence and risk.
The alienation is fostered and reproduced by charismatic group leaders amongst the rebellious youth and men in the footy and cannabis sub-cultures, the drinking circles and ceremonial brotherhoods, and leads to the classic “wicked problems” cursed by both sides of this conflict.
However, a “way out” of this impasse is that being taken by many women: simply getting on with raising families and developing their own working lives, i.e. inventing their own futures; and largely leaving much of the baggage of the past, and the general stasis of Aboriginal male existence, for others to worry about.
This is understandable, but it is not an acceptable situation for either responsible Aboriginal male leaders, many Aboriginal women, or the empathetic sections of the dominant society.
Thus we have conferences to reflect on the thoughts of thinkers such as Rolf Gerritsen, Peter Latz, Peter Sutton, Susan Moore, Ken Lechleitner, Bob Beadman, Indra Velasco, Glen Auricht, Philip Batty, Mike Gillam, and the extraordinary, irrepressible, irascible and indefatigable Bill Edwards, and discuss the big question: “Where do we go from here?”
Thank you, John Strehlow and David Moore, for giving us this opportunity to listen to, and debate with, these thinkers.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

Blackfellers buggering around whitefellers, where’s the off button?
I think, Gareth Lewis (Posted September 27, 2014 at 8:29 am), that although Gerritsen refers to some instances of active resistance, he is referring mostly to unconscious, subconscious and passive manifestations of resistance and non-cooperation, growing out of a long set of subcultures based on these responses.
As to assimilation, I don’t think Gerritsen was advocating a “return to assimilationism as a means on intervening with difference”.
Just as it is not just about “us” or “resistance”, it’s also not just about “assimilation” or “difference”.
If you are going to privilege “difference” in this debate, it would be useful if you defined exactly which forms of “difference” you think are most relevant here.

Blackfellers buggering around whitefellers, where’s the off button?
The challenge now is for Aboriginal leaders and supporters to develop constructive proposals for some new experiments in community development and greater Aboriginal control, in partnership with funding agencies, and involving more Aboriginal men in leadership roles.
There are some organisations providing good examples for this process – the men’s projects being supported by Congress and Tangentyere in Alice Springs and the Jesuit Social Services at Santa Teresa; much of the work of the Walpiri Youth Development (WYDAC) group at Yuendumu; the RFDS Mental Health Services work with Aboriginal men in the Luritye region; the Centrecorp redevelopment of the Memo Club in Alice; the revitalisation of Souths Football Club as a social force for men in Alice; the development of enterprises and the Historic Precinct being supported by the Finke River Mission at Ntaria (Hermannsburg); the proposal for a national Indigenous Cultural Centre being put forward by a consortium of Aboriginal male leaders and organisations in Alice.
These are just a few initiatives which spring to mind. There are also a lot of good initiatives being fostered by CAYLUS, in partnership with a wide range of Aboriginal community groups around the central Australian bush.

Recent Comments by Bob Durnan

Gallery business case slap in the face of custodians
Wrong again Matthew Langan (Posted August 26, 2019 at 6:44 pm).
It was actually “big knob socialist flogs” from the CLP who talked up and used government funds to build the Desert Park, the Araluen Arts Centre and the Strehlow Museum.
If you have complaints about those places and their costs to the public purse, go talk to the conservatives. Nothing to do with the Labor mob.
The CLP under both Adam Giles and Gary Higgins has indicated it would also support a new National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs.

Architect of Katherine’s masterplan to be Alice council CEO
James (Posted June 6, 2019 at 8:14 am): How many parks in Alice Springs commemorate Aboriginal leaders or dignitaries?
Nothing against Father Smith, but couldn’t we consider looking collectively at setting some priorities before rushing in to barrack for our favourite project?

Price family were sole complainants against Cocking & Satour 
Conservative (posted May 1, 2019 at 9:19 am): what do you mean by ‘props to Erwin’? Stage ‘props’? It doesn’t make sense.

Road toll drops by half
Like InterestedDarwinObserver, I think Assistant Commissioner Beer’s claim is a somewhat questionable one.
Given that the majority of NT road deaths are normally the result of single vehicle roll-overs on remote roads, it is questionable whether more intensive traffic policing in Alice would necessarily produce this good result as claimed.
We would need a much bigger sample and more details of the individual accidents to really get an idea about what is actually going on here.

Massive horse deaths now a risk to humans
Hal, (Posted April 14, 2019 at 1:29 am): Don’t be so disingenuous. It is obvious from the article that CLC staff have been trying very hard to get permission to act.
They have now made their frustrations known to the relevant authorities, who are able to step in.
My point is that your criticism should have been aimed at those responsible (the traditional owners in question), not at the CLC as an organisation, as the staff are trying to do their job and get something done about the situation.
I was at both Mulga Bore and Angula a little over a week ago, and found very few people at Mulga, and none at Angula.
There were no dead horses that I saw, or smell of dead horses, around the houses then at either place, but there may have been some elsewhere. Of course the carcasses should be disposed of, wherever they are; that is what the writer and the CLC are trying to achieve.

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