One of the most troublesome subjects for interpreters who work with Australian languages is finding acceptable ways to refer to the concept of a sacred site. In Kuninjku, these are known as Djang. In central Australia, the term Tjukurrpa is becoming more well known by non-Indigenous people. These terms involve more than just a location, but also ideas about deep history, the period of creation and the association between specific groups of people and totemic aspects which have their historical focus in these places. The term ‘Dreaming’ is so inadequate and misleading and so many Indigenous people are starting to reject this term, although others continue to use it.
Northern Territory Attorney General John Elferink: Land rights, he said, had become a “wall of imprisonment” blocking Aborigines from participating in northern development.
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.
"This is the first time in a long time that Balanda (European) and Yolngu laws have worked together like this. Yolngu are not asking for a separate system. This is about creating a dialogue between the two systems."
On the afternoon of the 26th of January 2012 Rebecca Healy and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks were both on the lawns near to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy across from Old Parliament House in Canberra and far from Tennant Creek. What happened next would see them on opposite sides in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory.
Mrs Kunoth-Monks: "I feel an enormous sense of vindication and relief. I have always been about bringing people together and not pulling them apart. Having a national story that stated otherwise hurt me deeply."
In this NAIDOC Week when the focus is on the impact of the 1963 Yirrkala Bark Petitions to the Australian Parliament, it is timely to reflect how an old typewriter helped change the course of Australian history.