Thank you for brining this to people's attention.
It was an NT government that cut that funding, but I'm told the Federal
government has cut funding for housing on outstations, thus forcing
semi-traditional people to towns. Once there the adults often begin
drinking. Kids, if they're lucky, often end up in the care of grandparents.
But grandparents often have problems of their own. I've seen what happens
The elders on fourteen outstations are very concerned. One man in his
eighties, Timothy, is staying put, looking after fourteen children on his
remote outstation in a tremendous effort to keep them safe. Their parents
have headed for town.
The elder I write of in the story, Jeremiah, and his wife Louise, have now
left Baby Dreaming to help Timothy. Jeremiah once told me they were rearing
their kids on an outstation so they would retain Bininj (Indigenous)
knowledge and values. What are those values? Integrity, kindness,
tolerance etc. Actually they're not values, but "necessities for survival"
as anthropologist Colin Turnbull once wrote.
And incidentally, it was the people I write of who some years ago declared
their favourite hunting billabong a bird sanctuary.
I'm presently gathering information so I can write to Federal ministers
Jenny Macklin and Peter Garrett on this issue.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow
PO Box 3460 NT 0832
Ph. 61 08 89 328306
Birdwatching and Indigenous tourism consultant
Help George Negus and Kirsty Cockburn save the Kimberleys
on 3/8/08 12:21 PM, Syd Curtis at wrote:
> Greetings, B-aus subscribers,
> If you have access to the "Weekend Australian" newspaper for Aug 2 - 3, have
> a look at "This Life" on p 2 of the "Review" lift-out. This week's column
> is by the Northern Territory ornithologist, Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow.
> Denise is, or was, a b-aus subscriber.
> Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land wished to enter the tourist industry.
> Denise was trying to help them via government funded workshops, building on
> their unique knowledge of the wildlife of the region.
> With the modern tourist industry, some acquaintance with computers and the
> internet is just about essential, but one Aboriginal elder told Denise he
> was too stupid to learn ... until Denise's teenage son took him in hand. An
> hour later, according to Denise, he was "typing with 10 fingers and
> beaming". That's the happy part. (I've long realised that if one has a
> computer problem, look for a teenager to help!)
> The sad part is that the work has ceased because the government department
> has withdrawn the funding on the grounds that Denise and colleagues are not
> qualified to teach!
> Denise doesn't say, but I surmise that it is a Northern Territory government
> department that she refers to. I can't imagine the Rudd government being so
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