Indigenous student warns boarding school can be ‘distressing’ as dropout rates are questioned

Cheyenne Maymuru is one of hundreds of young Aboriginal people who have left their communities to attend elite private schools in Australia’s biggest cities, and while there are many success stories, others are left with broken dreams.

When she was 12 years old, Ms Maymuru was granted a scholarship with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF), but what started out as an exciting opportunity soon became an experience she described as “deeply distressing”.

Original Story

 

Exclusive by Nick Hose and national Indigenous affairs correspondent Bridget Brennan and the Specialist Reporting Team’s Isabella Higgins

Landmark Local Decision Making Agreement puts power back in the hands of communities

14 November 2018

The Territory Labor Government will today sign the Groote Archipelago Local Decision Making Agreement with the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC).

The agreement is one of nine Local Decision Making agreements now signed or underway across the Territory, developed in accordance with the principles of self-determination; flexible place based approaches; co-design; and community control.

A return to Local Decision Making for Aboriginal communities was a key election commitment of the Territory Labor Government.

The binding agreement outlines Anindilyakwa priorities and timeframes for transition to local control in the areas of housing, education, health, local government, economic development, law and justice and environmental sustainability.

The agreement recognises the long established and strong systems of Anindilyakwa governance and leadership, and sets out how ALC, the NT Government, other stakeholders and the Anindilyakwa people will work together to transition decision making and service delivery for the Groote Eylandt communities over the next decade.

Agreements signed include:

  • West Daly (signed November 2018)
  • Djalkiripunynu (Blue Mud Bay) Statement of Commitment  (signed July 2018)
  • Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation (signed May 2018)
  • Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation (signed November 2018)

Agreements underway include:

  • Alawa Aboriginal Corporation
  • Mutitjulu Community
  • Tangentyere Council
  • Yolngu Region Statement of Commitment
  • Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation (to be signed 19 November 2018)

More information on Local Decision Making agreements can be found at ldm.nt.gov.au

Quotes from Chief Minister Michael Gunner

“Local Decision Making is a key election promise of the Territory Labor Government, and it serves as a potential first step towards a Territory version of Treaty.

“The old way is finished, and today we embark on a significant journey to give decision-making power back to where it belongs, in the hands of the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago.

“This means Government giving up decision making power to communities in areas like housing, education, justice, local government, health and looking after kids.

Quotes from ALC Chairman Tony Wurramarrba AO

“This agreement represents a future for the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago that is decided by our people, for our people.”

“We celebrate today’s occasion because it marks the Northern Territory Government’s solemn commitment to return control of local decisions to Traditional Owners. We will work with the Northern Territory Government to undertake this important work under this agreement over the next decade and make these changes for the benefit of our people.”

Media Contact: Cameron Angus 0404 021 192

The “MUPP3TZ 106.9 ” NT Variety Bash

The “MUPP3TZ 106.9 ” NT Variety bash team have once again been busy at work fundraising for Variety NT. We have already registered into this year’s NT Variety bash “Tennant to Townsville” during the 25th August to 1st September

We are seeking donations to assist our variety bash team make a difference to kids in need.
All fundraising and donations will go directly to Variety NT.
Our Bash car is located in Darwin and will be out and about at many events and will also be driven socially. All donations are tax deductible as Variety is a non for profit charitable organization.

Previously I have been involved with Variety NT through my employer, St John Ambulance NT. I have assisted in 3 variety bashes as the bash paramedic, and last year as first time basher. The years have grown on me and I have wanted to do more. I have seen these kids and the smile on their faces when the bash comes to town. I need to make a bigger difference to these kids in need. Together with 4 others we have formed a variety bash team been the “MUPP3TZ”.
We have purchased a 1982 ford Fairlane stretch, which last year ran it’s first bash.

Last year the “MUPP3TZ” raised a total of $12680.70. We were the highest fundraisers for 2017 NT Variety Bash receiving the “Top Hat” award and also the “Spirit of the Bash” award for best overall Bash team for 2017.

All children deserve the same opportunities in life.
All children should be able to follow their dreams and be the best they can be, no matter what life throws at them.
Variety – the Children’s Charity supports children and families who are facing many challenges through sickness, disadvantage or living with a disability.
Our work allows children to gain mobility and freedom, to get out and about in the community, to communicate, achieve independence and increase self-esteem, and where possible, assistance to help them integrate into mainstream school and activities.
The Variety Bash is not a race or a rally, it’s a fun and social event, or in the words of the originator Dick Smith, ‘A drive in the outback with a few mates’ in cars that are at least 30 years old (with an awesome theme!).
The Bash is a once in a lifetime chance to experience remote and regional parts of Australia that you might otherwise not see, all in support of Variety – the Children’s Charity.
Throughout the Bash, participants visit local towns, stopping into schools and organisations to visit the kids. Bashers get to see the direct impact of their fundraising efforts along the way, with a range of educational, health and mobility equipment provided to local schools and organisations en route.
The event is all about having fun in support of Aussie kids. There are always festivities along the way, from theme nights to entertainment and other activities and games on the road.
The Variety Bash generally runs for 8– 10 days depending on where the final destination has been set. The route and destination change each year . The full route is announced at a launch event each year, shortly after the finalisation of the previous Variety Bash.

Without business like yourself, these kids get left behind. Please help us help these kids and give them what they deserve.

More information about Variety can be found at www.Variety.org.au/nt

Nhulunbuy “Muppets 106.9” Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1690988201198746/

 

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Calling Emerging Leaders from Remote Communities

Sixteen aspiring Aboriginal leaders are wanted from across the Territory to join the 2018 First Circles Leadership Program.

Chief Minister and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Michael Gunner said that First Circles plays an important role in identifying, mentoring and supporting emerging Territory leaders.

“Territorians deserve a Government that always puts them first and listens and consults before taking decisive action,” Mr Gunner said.

“We promised to give communities more say over their lives by restoring local decision making in housing, health and education – the First Circles Leadership Program helps deliver on that.

“We need Aboriginal leadership if we are going to succeed. With the skills members learn from the program they can influence government policies and tackle important issues impacting on their communities.”

Mr Gunner said his Government is tackling some big issues including a Treaty, local decision making and economic development of land and sea.

First Circles’ members meet with Cabinet to discuss opportunities for government to work with remote communities on a range of projects.

The program also allows members to tap into existing NT Government grant funding to benefit their community and leadership aspirations.

First Circles’ members have represented their community on a national platform, including Galiwin’ku’s Bettina Danganbarr, recognised as the 2018 Local Hero of the NT Australian of the Year awards.

Another First Circles graduate is Selena Uibo MLA, member for Arnhem.

“First Circles is a deadly program for emerging leaders to share the story of their people and their country, to learn the stories of others, and to work directly with Government at the highest lever to create change in their community,” Ms Uibo said.

Nominations are now open and close on Friday, April 20.

For more information on the First Circles Leadership Program, visit ntg.gov.au/oaa.

Surf Club Update

For those who have been down to the club recently will have seen how close we are to completion. We are currently waiting on a few bits and pieces to arrive from Darwin to finish it off completely. Hopefully they will be on this week’s barge.

The inside is all but finished, most of the external flashing complete, plumbing fit off all but done. Electrician will have a day or two’s work and that will be finished.

Things are looking good and if all our ducks line up it should all be done this week.

Our state of the art security system is being installed that will monitor inside and outside the building 24 hrs a day. Modern day technology is impressive.

A month or so back you may have seen the club advertising for a couple to provide onsite security and to be our bar hosts.

We are fortunate enough to have secured a couple from Queensland who will live onsite and have committed to 12 months and potentially longer. They both have a lifesaving background and it will be great to have their help and provide that extra onsite security.

At this stage we are well on track for our big opening night on the 16th March. We will certainly let you know closer to the time.

You have got no idea how excited we are!!!!!!!!!

We would like to thank all our members and guests for your patience during the building and renovating phase. It has been challenging but I believe we have continued to offer a good level of service.

Never before has our club seen so much activity in such a short time frame. New clubhouse, renovated toilets, new first aid room, renovated observation tower and new outside kitchen.

All we have to do now is get all of the fencing replaced with black aluminum pool fencing. All the materials have arrived and installation will commence as soon as the clubhouse is finished.

It would be great if that was also done by the opening night. Fingers crossed.

The total make-over will be complete.

Our AGM is on Sunday 11th March at 1000 and everyone is welcome. It would be awesome to see new faces being a part of this iconic club. As well as committee positions there is also the opportunity for other volunteering roles within the club.

Let us know if you are interested in helping out.

 

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$80,000 Aboriginal Workforce Grants

You can apply for a grant of up to $80,000 for initiatives or projects that result in more Aboriginal Territorians entering employment and developing careers within the workplace. You can apply if you are a Northern Territory enterprise and employ Aboriginal Territorians including incorporated Aboriginal organisations, private businesses, industry bodies, not-for-profit organisations and other incorporated organisations.

Northern Commander’s message

Commander Matthew Hollamby has responsibility for the Northern Command, which includes the Katherine, Arafura, and Arnhem and Western Divisions

The month of November 2017 saw the lowest number of property crimes reported in Katherine in the past five months, taking total property crime to 15% lower this financial year compared to the same period last financial year.  This was a positive for the community leading into the Christmas period. Home security is a feature of policing operations and the community can help by undertaking basic security measures, including locking your doors at night or when your home or car is unattended.

Despite the positive outcome in property offences, the number of reported assaults spiked during November. The involvement of alcohol and domestic violence continue to be dominant factors in violent crime, and NT Police continue to place significant emphasis on reducing domestic violence.

In Nhulunbuy, both property and violent crime abated during the month of November 2017 to return to generally low rates. Unfortunately, alcohol and domestic violence continue to feature as factors in these statistics. Police at Nhulunbuy continue to work closely with local service providers to target the causal factors of crime.

We are now in the cyclone and flood season. Residents should have prepared their basic emergency kits and have considered a family cyclone or flood action plan. More information can be found at www.securent.nt.gov.au. Motorists are asked to take particular care on wet roads and where possible avoid driving on flooded roads and crossings. Last year, the Region experienced a number of deaths and vehicles washed off causeways in these circumstances.

The Northern Command encourages the community to report all suspicious activity and offending by reporting crimes to 131 444 or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Further, NT Police encourage the community to access the Neighbourhood Watch NT website, which provides some practical tips on how you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

Are you an Aboriginal Territorian who is interested in taking up teaching?

Are you an Aboriginal Territorian who is interested in taking up teaching? Apply now for the Teaching – Growing Our Future Scholarship! The scholarship aims to increase the number of Aboriginal educators across the Territory.

2017 NT Young Aboriginal Educator Jade Sharp said teaching is a rewarding career and encourages those interested to apply.

“I love being a teacher. Teaching is the only job that creates all other jobs and I’m proud to be able to pass on some of myself to the children I work with,” she said.

Don’t miss out – applications close on Friday 2 March 2018. For more info www.teachintheterritory.nt.gov.au

mission-christmas

Friday essay: dreaming of a ‘white Christmas’ on the Aboriginal missions

Laura Rademaker, Australian Catholic University

This story contains images of people who are deceased.

Aboriginal missions, which existed across Australia until the 1970s, are notorious for their austerity. Aboriginal people lived on meagre rations – flour, sugar, tea and tobacco – and later, token wages. At some missions, schoolgirls wore hessian sacks as clothes or skirts made from old bags.

Christmas, however, was a joyful time on them. Old people remember Christmas for food, gifts and carols. But the celebration had a sinister edge. For years, missionaries hoped the joy of Christmas would replace Aboriginal traditions. But Christmas actually became an opportunity for creative cross-cultural engagement, with Aboriginal people adopting its traditions and making them their own.

The food was a respite from the usual diet of damper, rice or stew. On the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory, missionaries would shoot a bullock, and the old women remember feasting on beef and mangoes on the beach.

Oenpelli Mission (Gunbalanya) Christmas, 1928.
National Archives of Australia

Missionaries used food to attract people to church. Christmas might be the only day of the year that it was distributed to everyone. Cake was a favourite. On Christmas Day at Gunbalanya in western Arnhem Land in 1940 the superintendent called it “the happiest we’ve experienced here. Ten huge cakes for Natives – no complaints – 106 at service” (suggesting that church attendance was linked to cake quantity).

For elders on Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, turtle-egg cake was a highlight of Christmas in the 1940s. As Jabani Lalara recalled:

We used to have a lovely Christmas … In front of the church, that’s where they used to put the Christmas tree and that’s where we used to get a present. Especially like cake, used to make from turtle egg. I love that cake. True.

Gifts were another drawcard. On Christmas 1899, the Bloomfield River Mission in far-north Queesland was said to be “overflowing” because Aboriginal people “heard there would be a distribution of gifts”. These included prized items such as handkerchiefs, pipes and knives. At some missions, Santa (often the superintendent) distributed gifts.

Father Christmas arriving at Mt Margaret Mission in a rickshaw, 1945.
State Library of Western Australia

However looking back, old people have mixed feelings about the gifts. As much as they loved them at the time, they discovered their treasures were only toys that white children had rejected. As one person told me:

We didn’t have much in them days, it was tough, but we were happy. We were happy with those secondhand toys at Christmas from the Salvation Army. We didn’t know they were secondhand toys at the time. I found out in my later years.

Christmas rally church service, Fitzroy Crossing Mission, 1954.
State Library of Western Australia

Missionaries and Aboriginal people alike loved carols; they were an opportunity for shared enjoyment. Tiwi women look back fondly on their time singing with nuns. Said one woman:

Sister Marie Alfonso, she used to play organ and all of us girls used to sing in Latin, but we still remember… Every Christmas [the old women] sing really good. They all can remember that Latin. It’s really nice.

There were also nativity plays, with Aboriginal children proudly performing for their communities. Said another:

When there was Christmas or even Easter Day there was a role-play… On Christmas Day I used to read. Three of them was the Wise Men and the other one was Mary and the other young boy was Jesus.

Christmas at Nepabunna, C.P. Mountford, 1937.
State Library of South Australia

Behind the lightheartedness came an agenda. As one priest commented, Christmas was to be a “magnet” to draw people into missions. Ultimately, missionaries hoped the celebration of Jesus’s birth would prove more attractive than Aboriginal people’s own ceremonies.

For those who would not settle on missions, Christmas was used against them. At Yarrabah in Queensland the “unconverted heathens” were invited to join the festivities, but their exclusion was symbolised by them walking at the back of processions, sitting at the back of the church and being the last to be served their meal.

Aboriginal Christmas

In missionaries’ eagerness to use Christmas to spread Christianity, they started to use Aboriginal languages (with Aboriginal co-translators). At Ngukurr in southern Arnhem Land and Gunbalanya, the first church services in Aboriginal languages were Christmas services (in 1921 and 1936).

Aboriginal people loved carols, so these were the first songs translated. On the 1947 release of the Pitjantjatjara Hymnal, Christmas carols were the most popular (The First Noel sung in parts being the favourite). On Groote Eylandt, translation began with Christmas carols, nativity plays and Christmas readings in the 1950s. At Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island in Arnhem Land, the annual Christmas Drama was in Yolngu Matha from 1960.

Translation was meant to make missionary Christianity more attractive, but it opened the way for more profound cultural experimentation. Aboriginal people infused Christmas with their own traditions. On the Tiwi Islands, in 1962 there was a “Corrobboree Style” nativity on the mission told through traditional Tiwi dance. Dance traditions missionaries had previously called “pagan” were now used by Tiwi people to share the Christian celebration.

At Warruwi on the Goulburn Islands in western Arnhem Land, Maung people began “Christmas and Easter Ceremonies” from the 1960s, blending ceremonial styles with Western musical traditions as well as their own music and dance. At Wadeye, in the Northern Territory, “Church Lirrga” (“Liturgy Songs”) include Christmas music, sung in Marri Ngarr with didjeridu. The Church Lirrga share the melodies of other Marri Ngarr songs that tell of Dreamings on the Moyle River.

Many who embraced Christianity sought to express their spirituality without missionary control. At Milingimbi in the NT, Yolngu people developed a Christmas ceremony with clap sticks and dijeridu outside the mission and free of missionary interference.

Mt Margaret Mission Christmas, 1933.
State Library of Western Australia

At Ernabella Mission in South Australia in 1971, people began singing the Christmas story to ancient melodies, with the permission of their songmen. Senior Anangu women at Mimili, SA, later sang the Pitjantjatjara gospel to their witchetty grub tune, blending Christmas with their Dreamings and songlines.

Christmas was woven into community life. Just as introduced animals found their way into Aboriginal songs and stories, Christmas became part of the seasons and landscape, as Therese Bourke explained at Pirlangimpi on the Tiwi Islands:

They used to have donkeys [here] and the donkeys used to come round in December. And my mother’s mob used to say, “they’re coming around because it’s Christmas and Jesus rode on the back of one.”

The missions transformed into “communities” under a policy framework of self-determination in the 1970s, although missionaries themselves often remained active in the communities for decades. Meanwhile, many Aboriginal people have mixed memories of the missions – fondness for some aspects, anger at others – including Christmas.

The ConversationBut regardless of the missionaries, Christmas became an Aboriginal celebration in its own right. Some missionaries even came to appreciate Aboriginal ways of celebrating Christmas in line with their Dreamings. Though missionaries had wanted to replace Aboriginal spirituality with a “white Christmas”, it became a season of deeper meetings of cultures.

Laura Rademaker, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Modern History, Australian Catholic University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.