Sunday, December 23, 2012

an embassy in canberra

On Australia Day, January 26, 1972, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy was set up across from Parliament House in Canberra, the capital of Australia.  Since that day in 1972, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy has not moved and there has always been a structure present on the lawn across the street from the old parliament, which coincidentially is now the Museum of Australian Democracy.

The history of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia is similar to the story of the native peoples of the world, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and beyond, that of genocide, forced removal from ancestral lands, lies and promises broken over and over again by the various colonizing forces. Australian history is unique in the sense that the continent was declared, terra nullius - land belonging to no one - in and around 1827. Subsequently, revoking any sort of acknowledgement that a peoples lived on the continent prior to European settlement.

The embassy that you see above is perhaps the original "Occupy" within the western world. Though today a small shack with a trailer and tents beside, it is inspiring to see that movements can stay strong through decades of government and the pressure of politics.

The day I went to the embassy with a couple people from the conference I was attending, no one was present as there had been the recent passing of Aunty Isabel Coe, an aboriginal leader from the Wiradjari Nation, who had been in solidarity with the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for much of her life...

love and health to all...


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