The mistake the politicians made (although Clare Martin was an honourable exception) was to conclude that this very long-standing “emergency” demanded that the white politicians and bureaucrats urgently devise and impose their own “expert” punitive, paternalistic policy solutions on those recalcitrant, irresponsible black fellas who wouldn’t even protect their own children from the thugs and paedophiles in their midst.
Blacks in the back, cunts in the front and the response to it, is emblematic of how non-indigenous Australia embraces and yet looks away from aboriginal people at the same time. This ruptured thinking process is the stringy bond with our earlier task of occupying, claiming and settling Australia, in particular the ‘wilderness consciousness’ that in its day encouraged mate-ship, an easy going attitude, and above all, manners (you could not swear at the dinner table or in front of your mother) whilst allowing rape and killing to be seen as pragmatic.
The debacle that has been exposed in the past two years within the NT juvenile justice system shows quite clearly that by deliberate design and policy Aboriginal children in are treated in a barbarous, inhumane and illegal way. Multiple incidents within the juvenile detention facilities have revealed that the NT Government prosecutes policies against Aboriginal children which include spit-hooding, gassing, hand cuffing, shackling and extensive periods of unlawful solitary confinement.
The authors of the Little Children Are Sacred report found that overall levels of dysfunction were higher in Indigenous communities where traditional law had significantly broken down. They argued that is more likely that Indigenous people will respond positively to their own law and culture than to laws imposed upon them.
My dad spent so much time out bush and we barely saw him when we were growing up. He was always out on a community. And you know now when I go to the most remote little community place all kinds of people come up to me and say “Oh Kumanjayi sorry for your dad”. Just yesterday at the Art Fair here in Darwin someone said to me...and my Dad died ten years ago... an older woman came up to me “Oh I'm sorry for your father that Kumanjayi”...it is an immense honour and incredibly humbling when people talk to me about my father as they do.