Spirit of Eureka fully supports the compelling initiative from elders of Yuendumu, a Walpiri community north of Alice Springs.The elders are calling for a CEASEFIRE – no more guns on their lands – along with a raft of judicial and social measures to increase their safety and respect self determination in their communities. We reproduce their call in full below.
Walpiri elders of Yuendumu are calling on Australians to act against police racism and violence
We are senior Elders, families and community members from the Warlpiri Nation. There has been a lot of attention on our community of Yuendumu since NT Police Constable Zachary Rolfe shot and killed our loved one, Kumanjayi Walker, on 9 November 2019. We are grieving this injustice, and the injustice of Rolfe’s acquittal. Above all, we remember that Yapakurlangu Warnkaru Matters, Black Lives Matter.
April 2022 marked thirty five years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was launched. Since its recommendations were delivered in 1991, they have been largely ignored and over 500 First Nations peoples have died in custody across this country. Not one police officer or custodial worker has ever been convicted with any of these deaths. We do not want any more reports or inquiries that are not acted on. We already hold the answers and strategies we need. We do not want any more consultations with governments who do not listen to us. We demand our self determination, our rightful decision making authority, and our resources to be restored to us. This is a list of our demands. What we are calling for is karrinjarla muwajarri, a police ceasefire. Indefinitely.
Everything that has happened to our community over the past fifteen years has been in the context of the racist NT Intervention. In 2007, the Commonwealth government suspended the Racial Discrimination Act so they could force the Intervention laws on us. Many of these laws were extended by the so called “Stronger Futures” legislation in 2012. We have suffered compulsory acquisition of township lands, prohibition on consideration of our customary law, attacks on the permit system, loss of our community council, imposition of government managers, widespread unemployment, control of our incomes, increased police numbers and extreme powers that drive police harassment and violence.
With the “Stronger Futures” legislation set to expire in July this year, we are calling for an end to all discriminatory powers and laws that were introduced with the NT Intervention and a restoration of our community control. Funding for punitive agencies empowered by the Intervention needs to be re-directed into our expert community services so that our solutions can be designed and implemented from the grassroots up.
NT and Commonwealth governments need to work with and respect the authority of senior decision makers in our community. We are serious in our demands. These are our calls for justice and for a just future. We call on NT and Commonwealth governments to hear them and act without delay.
Please go to the elders’ site at https://karrinjarlamuwajarri.org/ and send your solidarity any way you can.
1. No guns in remote communities.
2. NT Police must be defunded at large.
3. Only Warlpiri governance and authority in our community.
4. An end to all discriminatory powers and laws that were introduced with the NT Intervention.
5. A restoration of laws and structures that respect our local community control.
6. That funding be redirected from punitive agencies to community controlled services.
7. Kids on Country not in Custody.
8. We need a Black Media Watch to stop the racism in media reporting on our First Nations people.
9. Defamatory content about Kumanjayi Walker must be immediately withdrawn from publication.
10. PAW Media and Elders need to approve any media visits to Yuendumu and any media reporting must be accountable by coming back to our community.
11. Journalists need to work using a cultural safety framework, local protocols and trauma informed processes. They must listen to and act upon the cultural guidance of our community.
12. We want culturally safe mental health support for community members with trauma and PTSD. This support must be for the longer term and address our shared and individual PTSD.