Bali’s fake ‘Made in Australia’ boomerangs and didgeridoos robbing artists of a living

An undercover 60 Minutes investigation has exposed the Australian businesses importing fake Aboriginal artefacts from Indonesia to sell in Australian tourism stores.

The shocking exploitation of more than 40,000 years of indigenous culture has resulted in Aboriginal artists no longer being able to compete in the market – which was one of the largest remaining sources of independent income for indigenous communities.

Reporter Liam Bartlett began the investigation in the ancestral birthplace of the didgeridoo in Arnhem Land, Northern Australia.

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ACT treaty needed to right past wrongs made against Indigenous people

The Barunga Statement, despite having been effectively ignored for the last 30 years, has been given life by the Northern Territory government which has announced that it will, consistent with the demands incorporated in the statement, begin negotiations with the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory for a treaty.

While differing in content and structure, the Barunga and Uluru Statements are in essence concerned with the same issues, namely self-determination, self-management, sovereignty, land rights, truth telling, an historical reckoning and justice. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia are calling for these rights to be recognised and guaranteed through a treaty or a makarrata.

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Curses, black magic and witchdoctors: Ancient beliefs at large in remote NT communities

Halfway through a shift and Kara Burgoyne would turn and leave, as if it were a fire drill.

The entire building would empty out, deserting any confused newcomer who happened to be shopping in the Angurugu community store.

On Groote Eylandt, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Indigenous residents widely believe in curses, which can be placed on any person, place or object.

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Indigenous flag designer says idea to police the authenticity of Aboriginal art is ‘repugnant’

The designer of the Aboriginal flag has lambasted an idea to police the authenticity of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander art, believing it to be steeped in “institutional racism”.

The Federal Government is currently undertaking an inquiry that aims to prevent exploitation of Indigenous culture through the proliferation of “inauthentic” art and artefacts.

But although many Indigenous art groups were in favour of more regulation, Harold Thomas believed that setting out a definition of what was “authentic” would place Indigenous artists in a vacuum, unable to draw on modern influences and under a “repugnant” level of cultural control.

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Australia’s human rights record has been “woeful”

Australia’s human rights record has been “woeful rather than exemplary”, National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins has told a United Nations forum.

She said statements by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about Australia’s proud human rights record and support for Indigenous people was “hypocritical in the extreme”.

Independent Northern Territory MP Yingiya Mark Guyula, a Yolngu leader from Arnhem Land, asked the UN to intervene on the behalf of Aboriginal people.

He told the UN Yolngu people had very little control or autonomy and their collective rights were being destroyed by government licensing regimes, the inability to contest government land council decisions and policies that were forcing Yolngu people into hub towns.

“My people are crying out for justice and we are not being heard,” Mr Guyula said.

 

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Daughter of Arnhem Land honoured

Raised on Yirrkala mission in Arnhem Land in the 1950s, Ms Marika was initially tutored in traditional bark painting by her artist father Mawalan Marika, who encouraged her and her sisters to paint the ancestral creation stories of their clan, an activity typically reserved only for Yolngu men.

In addition to her forging her own artistic path, Ms Marika has assisted other artists and become a powerful advocate for the protection of Indigenous art and culture.

As a traditional landowner at Yirrkala, she is both inspired and determined to ensure her Yolngu language and homeland in Yalangbara (Port Bradshaw) – one of the most significant sacred sites in north-east Arnhem Land region – is protected and recognised.

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Arnhem Land artists’ Sydney exhibition links ancient stories with political advocacy

In a small pocket of Arnhem Land called Maningrida, Deborah Wurrikidj has been working long days.

But the artist of more than 20 years said the hours go fast, as she pulls the ancient stories of her homeland into a contemporary exhibition set to be showcased at The Cross Arts Project in Sydney from April 20 until May 26.

Deborah, along with her sister Jennifer Wurrkidj and aunt Susan Marawarr, will also travel to the exhibition, which they sent art to last year but were unable to attend.

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Close the Gap report to show three of seven targets on track

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will hand down the 10th annual report on the Close the Gap strategy on Monday.

Malcolm Turnbull insists jobs and setting up businesses are crucial to improving the lives of indigenous Australians as he prepares to hand down the annual Closing the Gap report.

The latest report card on the federal government’s strategy shows just three of its seven targets are on track, a decade after it was launched to improve the lives of indigenous Australians.

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