CULTURAL WARNING: This article contains names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed
FYI: words and names that we felt were not general knowledge have been hyperlinked for further reading/information/clarification. Please note that we have used the country (or nation) / language group names of the ‘Aboriginal’ and Torres Strait Islander people being quoted/referred to in this article, as so-called-australia is actually a continent made up of numerous countries/nations, each with its own language(s), dialect(s) and culture(s) eg. Gary Foley (Gumbayngirr). This knowledge is something that the colonisers have tried to destroy/white wash since their arrival in 1770 eg. through terms such as the word ‘Aboriginal’. We have used this word sometimes in this article to assist clarification. Also for the notes, the First Nations People of so-called-australia have passed knowledge down orally BC (Before Colonisation) over the last 60,000 (or more) years hence the differing of spelling. Click those hyperlinks for further information as you need.
This text is an update on the current situation in so-called-australia, with the continuation of the colonial project and the way it is realised in our current times.
It has more or less changed from the obvious and openly racist past, to the more subtle but still explicit genocide of the First Nations People.
Lately there have been numerous new deaths in custody of First Nations People by the hands of that state and its cop extensions.
There has been a police shooting of a teenager.
These things are only new as events, not as a structure that is necessary for the upholding of the colonial state.
The whole of so-called-australia can only exist and claim its legitimacy through the routine murder and continued genocide of First Nations People, with the rest of its society watching on silently.
From Australia and the Holocaust: A Koori Perspective (part 6)
by Professor Gary Foley (Gumbayngirr):
“As a result of the Holocaust, in Paris on 9th December 1948, the newly created United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 260 (III) A, the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Article 2 of the Convention defined ‘genocide’ the following acts ‘committed with intent to destroy’ in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group by: –
1. Killing members of the group;
2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The Australian government ratified the Convention on 8th July 1949 but has chosen since then to ignore the Conventions obvious ramifications in Australia”.
Quote from Robbie Thorpe, (Krauatungalung (Gurnai) / Djapwurrung (Gundditjmara)):
“People need to have a look at what happened in the Nuremberg trials, and what happened in the state of Germany at the time and ask themselves, you know, not to wonder why evil reigned while good people did nothing!
We need to put Australia’s genocidal history on the record! They’ve taken everything! Children. Wages. Lives. Land. All stolen. What we’re saying should happen, should be treaty. International, scrutinised treaty process. Before then, we’ll need to have an end of hostilities, and a recognition of this declared/undeclared war. This secret invasion. And that would do a hell of a lot for Aboriginal peoples’ psychology in this country. We don’t need much more than that. We only need the jackboots to come off our necks to be able to survive.”
From Aboriginals in Colonial Victoria by M.F. Christie:
“Throughout the frontier years [in so-called-australia] (between 1835 – 1850) the intellectual argument that the Aborigines more closely resembled ‘the orangutans than men’ made it easier for the squatter to treat the Aborigines as subhuman, to lump them with the dingo and shoot them as a ‘rural pest’”.
From Genocide: the distance between law and life (Aboriginal History 2001, vol. 25) by Larissa Behrendt (Eualeyai/Kamillaroi):
‘The vengeful, calculated and senseless killing of Aboriginal people is no longer carried out by punitive expeditions, but becomes legitimised as ‘policing’ carrying the sanction of the legal system.
The Forrest River Mission and Ernest River Massacres took place in the Kimberleys in 1926. Four white men (two mounted constables and two policeman) and two Aboriginal trackers moved through the camps of the area, killing indiscriminately as they went:
They would ride out in the morning, move into a camp, capture as many of the inhabitants as possible, chain them together, and bring them back to the base camp. They would separate the men from the women. The men, still chained together, were led away from the camp to a lonely place on the edge of Forrest River where they were tied to a tree and shot.
The women, who had been chained to a nearby tree, were forced to witness the death and cremation of their men folk. They were then marched for another 10 kilometres along the river bank…they were all executed…and the bodies were burnt.
The gang moved along the Forrest River, which joins the Durack River, for a week capturing, killing and burning bodies to conceal the evidence:
Where the men had been done to death was a small tree to which the prisoners had evidently been fastened. Round this tree was a ledge of rock about a foot high. Dark stains were still visible, though great efforts had been made to clean up the declivity.
Men and women were slaughtered, their bodies burnt to dispose of them. The perpetrators were police and the crime took place on a reserve. Reverend Gribble presented a report on the murders to the Western Australian Parliament but it did lead to an investigation and action. Two of the men involved in the massacre were arrested for murder. They received sympathy and support from the local white community and were acquitted.
At the moments in which the law took over where the ‘policing’ of the punitive expeditions left off and the point at which the law was impotent to prevent or punish frontier violence perpetrated by white men against Indigenous people, it became complicit in the colonial agenda of conquest, dispossession, violence and genocide. It is hard to find neutrality within this role played by laws and the agents of the legal system”.
In 1991, the final report of the government investigation called the Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was published. It concluded that none of the 99 deaths investigated were due to the pigs behaving like violent, racist murderous liars because they did not have the intention to kill! It further concluded that the pigs just hadn’t managed to give the appropriate ‘standard of care’ that ordinarily should have been given to many of the deceased. 339 recommendations were created, most of which still in 2019 have never been implemented. To this date there have now been 418 lives taken by pigs since the report was published. Why is this still happening? Great question!
Quote from Professor Gary Foley (Gumbayngirr) :
“Indigenous people are over 10 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous people, and make up over 25% of the prison population. There are places in this country today where Indigenous children are over 50 times more likely to be incarcerated than non-Indigenous children. We are less than 3% of the population, but over 20% of deaths in custody. We are among the most incarcerated people on the planet. The next time you’re wondering if this country is racist – ask yourself if these figures would be tolerated if they applied to any other community? Is it really possible that a country with the resources, wealth and standard of living of Australia can’t address these issues? Or is it simply the case that racism is in this country’s DNA. That genocide is woven into every aspect of this country’s economics, politics and laws. That over two centuries since invasion, we still live in a system designed to exterminate us.” [NB: statistics are from 2017.]
These last months have seen so-called-australia being engulfed by fires due to 231 years of land mismanagement that can be blamed on capitalism, colonisation, racism and patriarchal-authoritarian-stupidity [editors note: please refer to hyperlinks for more information on this].
It has seen two ‘Aboriginal’ deaths in custody.
It has seen the fatal shooting of 19 year old Kumanjayi Walker by a pig (the second in the last three months).
It has seen the submissions for the Death in Custody inquest of Aunty Tanya Day. And it has seen the handing down of the coroner’s findings of the death in custody of David Dungay Junior.
The list could (and does) go on..
The shooting of First Nations people of so-called-australia (FN’s people / the Aboriginals) began on April 28th 1770 at a place now called Botany Bay, on the East Coast of so-called-sydney, NSW.
This was also the point of first contact between the Gweagal people (one of the many Black nations of the continent) and the british.
Eighteen years later in 1788, the british came back and got their colonial plans up and running. They based their claim to their right of the land and its resources on the lie of Terra Nullius (land belonging to no-one) which has been proven false through their own ‘justice system’ in the Mabo vs QLD case in 1992, yet the illegal occupation, the genocide, and the raping and pillaging of the land continues.
At no point has a treaty ever been signed between the original Black nations of so-called-australia, and the colonisers. Sovereignty was never ceded.
Recent ‘Aboriginal’ Death in Custody #1: On October 27th 2019 a 39 year old Aboriginal man went into cardiac arrest whilst being ‘subdued’ and handcuffed by police in so-called-perth (WA). He was taken to Royal Perth Hospital, placed on life support and died on **October 30th 2019.
Recent ‘Aboriginal’ Death in Custody #2: On Tuesday November 5th 2019, a 20 year old Indigenous inmate from Kariong Correctional Centre in so-called-nsw was being escorted back to the Centre after receiving treatment at Gosford hospital. The person tried to break free from the 2 pigs escorting them by jumping over a 1.5 meter high wall which had a 10 meter drop on the other side. They died on November 6th in the Royal North Shore Hospital. This account was made known thanks to someone that witnessed the events.
Kumunjayi Walker: On Saturday 9th November 2019, 19 year old Walpiri youth Kumanjayi Walker was shot dead in a remote community called Yuendumu, 300km from Mparntwe (so-called-alice-springs) in the Northern Territory. This is the second fatal shooting by a pig of an Aboriginal in the continent in the last two 2 months (Joyce Clarke, Yamatji, died of a gunshot wound to the stomach on September 17th 2019). A pig has been charged with murder of Kumanjayi, though they were released on bail 3 hours after the charge was laid. He has also been given a statement of full support from the local pig department. The case for the murder charge is planned for December 19th. Similarly, after the killing of Cameron Doomadgee/Mulrunji on Friday 19th November 2004 in Palm Island, Detective Chris Hurley was charged for manslaughter and his trial was held in 2007. He was acquitted in June 2007 by an all-white jury, transferred to a new job location, and received $100,000AUD in compensation.
Quote from Senita Granites (Walpiri, Aunty of Kumanjayi) :
“I came back from funeral service. I seen my nephew. He looked happy, and I was just looking at him. Thirty minutes later I heard the gunshots…
They didn’t let us in the police station. The lights were all off.
I wake up in the night. I can’t sleep. Everyone here in Yuendumu couldn’t sleep, cause what the police done to us”.
Quote from Harry Jakamarra Nelson (Senior Warlpiri Man) :
‘This is unreal. The Intervention has a lot to do with this, it has set us right back. The last time Warlpiri people were shot like this was 90 years ago, with the Coniston massacre. We are hurting. There is no fairness, honesty or respect. To all the people coming along to protest, I want to say thank you from my people”.
Quote from Valerie Napaljarri Martin (Senior Warlpiri woman) :
“We need truth and justice. We aren’t running around with weapons. We want justice for what they done, being shot in cold blood…”.
Quote from Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves (Senior Warlpiri man) :
“We want justice, not only for Yuendumu Warlpiri, but for all Indigenous First Nations people right across Australia. The police has to face some sort of justice. For what they have done to this community, we want to see justice”.
Otto Jungarayi Sims (Warlpiri Cultural Artist) :
“The number one enemy is the government and its fraudulent criminal system, working on, profiting on Blackman’s Land. Their days are numbered. Let’s stand united!”
Rachael Hocking (Warlpiri, & cousin of Kumanjayi Walker):
‘They’ve been calling for the cops to leave town for 1 year. They’ve been calling for 24 hour medical services. They would like Yapa Way to be respected (Yapa Way is Warlpiri Way) [editors note: and refers to tradition lore] in Community. They’re calling for Yapa Way to be respected in medical services, for respect for Bush Medicine, respect for Yapa Way of dealing with matters in Community conflict, rather than over-policing. They’re looking to alternative approaches for young Mob who get into trouble, so approaches which focus on the care and well being, the mental health of our young people, rather than locking them up. So there are a lot of calls to action there which are similar to what you see around the Communities who are effected by Deaths in custody – and I don’t know any community in this country that isn’t effected by Death’s in Custody’.
Aunty Tanya Day: Submissions were taken by the Coroner’s Court in Naarm (so-called-melbourne) on November 11th for the inquest into the death of Aunty Tanya Day (Yorta Yorta). On December 5th 2017, she was drunk but on the train heading home to loved ones who were waiting for her. Instead of a member of public keeping a watchful eye out on her condition, ready to call for medical attention if her condition became an assumed threat to her own safety or others’, the member of public called the pigs. She was put in a police cell for 4 hours to ‘sober up’. She hit her head on the cell wall and eventually died in hospital 17 days later. Here is the CCTV footage of the events leading to her death. The family have asked for the whole world to watch it and fought hard to make it public.
David Dungay Junior: November 22nd 2019 saw the handing down of the Coroner’s findings of the inquest into the death in custody of 26 year old David Dungay Junior (Dunghutti). David was diabetic and schizophrenic. He died on December 29th 2015 in so-called-sydney’s Long Bay Prison hospital. 5 pigs had stormed his cell after seeing him eating a packet of biscuits that he had refused to stop eating. They forced him down on his bed to hand cuff him then dragged him to another cell, pinned him down on another bed there in the prone position where a nurse injected him with a fast acting sedative (10mm of Midazolam). During this process, David had repeated 12 times ‘I can’t breathe’. After his 12th repetition he lost consciousness and he died. CCTV of the lead up to, and his eventual death can be seen here.
Due to the amount of footage available for David’s case, there was quite some hope for the pigs to be finally held accountable for their mistreatment of FN’s people in custody. Unfortunately, yet again, no kind of justice was to be had. 5 pigs walk free and one nurse gets more training. More government recommendations. Again the excuse that no one had the intent to kill.
[the action team’s] ‘conduct was limited by systemic efficiencies in training’ and was ‘not motivated by malicious intent’ but ‘was a product of misunderstanding’.
– quote from the New South Wales Coroner.
During the hearing, the coroner had heard that for periods of up to 8 minutes basic CPR had not been performed by medical staff. Not only that, but when they managed to be bothered to try, they forgot to take the safety cap off the equipment used for resuscitation. Instead, the cap came off in David’s mouth.
Quote from Leetona Dungay (mother of David Dungay Jnr) :
“I am disgusted and deeply hurt for what passes for justice in australia.
He should have been in hospital.. a health patient.
They all got away with… well, what would you call it? I can’t say it, or I’ll get sued.
‘I am his mother and I want justice, where the life of an Aboriginal man is worth something. I am going to fight until I live in a country where Black Lives Matter!”
Quote from Madeline McGrady (Gomeroi) :
“I thought we might have had a little window there today, I thought we might get somewhere. But today we walk out again disappointed.
We have to keep fighting. We can’t give it up. It’s our kids… Our focus is on our kids. We have to protect them from the police, and the corrective services. Every Black death in custody.. since the 80s.. they just keep making recommendations for training. Bloody hell, how much more training do they need?! So we have to give up our kids for these people to be trained!? I am just straight disappointed!”
Quote from Paul Silva, (David Dungay Jnr’s nephew) :
“We’re standing 4 years later, strong as ever can be and we still get no answers! No charges! Nothing!
Our family has lost an individual that is now 6 feet under the ground, and we have watched numerous amounts of footage of him being brutally assaulted, and begging for his life, and being killed. Now you can’t stand and ask why would I be angry.
First Nations people get treated inappropriately in every day living!
‘Don’t let this Aboriginal death go under the carpet, because I guarantee that there’s going to be more where it comes from!”
Quote from Elizabeth Jarrett (Gumbaynggirr, Dunghutti, Bundjalung):
“Why do those people keep doing those fucking jobs?!
My brother, like my nephew said, is 6 feet in the fucking ground! Burning!
The whole world watching on fucking TV! And we’ve got to to stand here and listen to recommendations!?
… Rejected! Rejected! Rejected, every one of the fucking footages! Rejected!”
ACAB: Some First Nations peoples’ reflections –
On November 4th 2019, Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta Essayist and Screenwriter Nayauka Gorrie spoke live on the ABC’s nationally screened television program Q&A. Numerous complaints about the episode were received. It has since been removed from their online viewing platforms, though the video appears in other places, such as here. A transcript exists. We also made one for safe keeping:
“Like it’s not just about racism and white supremacy. It is also wanting to disappear Indigenous people, and our sovereignty not to be upheld. I think the danger – and I think Queensland police is a really good example when we kind of zone in on one particular police officer, say, Chris Hurley up in Queensland. I think we’ve got a bit of a culture of being able to, we want to pin it on one person and just say, ”Oh you know, it’s just one bad guy, or it’s a couple of bad apples”.
But if we are thinking about the police, or we’re thinking about institutions, we have to understand that it’s a cultural issue. It is a systemic issue. And beyond the police… It’s not just the police. We also have to say institutions like the healthcare system. I’m thinking of Naomi Williams up in New South Wales where she died of something that should have been preventable. She went to the doctor 18 times. And racism absolutely played a role in that.
I think it’s a waste of time to try and change something like the police. It’s truly a waste of time. We’ve been trying for years and years and years. It hasn’t worked.
So, what are different ways of dealing with things that we go to the police for? You know, Ms Dhu… Ms Dhu is a really good example. She went for help and she ended up dying. Aunty Tanya Day was… she was… she was drunk in public. You know, you would help someone normally. There are going to be thousands of people who are drunk tomorrow and they’re going to be helped. So why do we need to rely on them, when we can build communities to do that work for ourselves?!”
Shaun Harris (Wadjarri Yamatji from Midwest West Australia & Uncle of Ms Dhu):
‘They targeted and tried to wipe out ALL of our LORE Men and Women who were already our ”police” hoping that chaos would run rampant through our Black nations and give the Butchers Flag people the exact excuse they needed to officially declare war on us/wipe us all out.
We can, would and will police ourselves (…) but they will still exercise their bigoted racial egos and try to walk all over us whenever they feel.
Continual stream of employing racist bigot uniforms, and transferring officers to other towns and cities instead of sacking and or charging or convicting them don’t help neither.
You know how hard we had to fight for those two Dhu inquests, then again even harder to make them release the CCTV. We are still trying to get to the Federal Courts (almost there) and they are still drawing out the processes to hope we all die before we get them into Fed Courts.
Black deaths in custody sadly also create more deaths, be it family or friends. Less people for the Government Perpetrators to pay for compensation etc; Draconian way Down Under”.
Quote from Robbie Thorpe (Krauatungalung (Gurnai) / Djapwurrung (Gundditjmara) ):
“Current pigs no different from the first load of “rum corps” convict cops protecting their masters’ Stolenwealth [editors note: the term ‘Stolenwealth’ is a ‘corrected’ version of the word ‘Commonwealth’].
If the police are needed then the local community should do the hiring and firing. Their purpose, accountability and role made very clear. Police really are not needed in a civilised society”.
Quote from Ken Canning/Burruga Gutya (Kunja Clan of the Bidjara Nation):
“I have been a long time advocate of forming (for want of a better word) our own parliament. To start with, we need an elected body from all communities in this Land and they should have the powers to run Aboriginal Affairs. This could be the start of self governance. The present system just does not work for us. Indigenous Peoples of Finland have their own parliament. At the moment our government select individuals or groups to talk for you. All they ever get is what they want to hear and not real solutions!”.
Quote from Ruby Wharton (Gamilaraay, Kooma):
“Police do not exist to protect and serve the people. The police force is built upon and remains loyal to toxic white patriarchal foundations. Police terrorise communities and vulnerable people on a daily basis and will continue to do so until we rise up as a community to stop our people dying at the hands of police”.
Quote from from Senior Walpiri Man Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves from his article this month in IndigenousX:
“Enough is enough.
We do not want to have to choose between two worlds, and we do not want our world to keep being misheard and misunderstood.
Aboriginal people don’t want to be forced to choose between Our Way and Western Way anymore. We’ve already been there for too long.
We want to continue to protect our cultures, and we want to manage our own lands and resources.
For this to happen Traditional Owners need a strong voice to ensure that misleading impressions of Aboriginal people and culture are addressed.
We need to find a way to understand each other. To share our cultures with each other. To share resources with each other and protect them together, to make sure there is enough to go around for everybody and to ensure that there will be enough for the future”.
Solidarity with the First Nations People in the occupied territories of so-called-australia, fighting for their lives against the colonial state and its supporters.
Author: All Colonists Are Bastards
Original posted at anarchistsworldwide.noblogs.org