Virtual Tour Sydney 1998 IWD

Isabel Coe

Isabell CoeHello everyone my name is Isabel Coe I am from the Wiradjuri tribe, one of the biggest tribes in New South Wales. While I have got a chance, I would ask that people stand for one minute in silence, for the Eora and Gadigal people that we have lost in the defence of our country

I am here from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy which is the longest running protest in this country. We have been protesting on the site, on the lawns of Old Parliament House for twenty-six years. We started there in 1972 when Bert Williams, Tony Koori, Billy Craigy and Michael Anderson put an umbrella up. Which turned into one of the most violent confrontations for Land Rights and Sovereignty in this country. Now the Aboriginal tent Embassy is all about Sovereignty, this is Aboriginal land, always was and always will be and we are there to tell the truth about Sovereignty. Every legislation that has been passed in this country has been based on racism, Reconciliation legislation, Native Title Legislation and every other legislation, because Aboriginal people have never been involved in it, have never had a say in it and have never been consulted. There has been a big con job that has been going on around this country, we have had a Reconciliation process here in Sydney, and there was genocide committed, with Pemawui, our great hero one of our leaders that Jenny spoke about, this is Pemawui’s country, you are standing on his country, where genocide has been committed under a Reconciliation process and it has also happened in Tasmania where genocide has been committed under a Reconciliation process. Now if we are going to be fair dinkun about coming together and sitting in a circle we have to be honest and we can’t continue down the track where we are going to make the same mistakes of the past. It’s like expecting the Jewish people to celebrate and embrace what Nazi Germany did in Germany against the Jewish people. It’s this reoccurring of this nightmare that Australia puts on Aboriginal people. We are the first people, not just of this country but of the world and that recognition hasn’t come. We don’t need for the White experts to tell us we have only been here for 40,000 years, we have been here since time immemorial. Our connections go back to time immemorial and when there is another genocide you people because if you do not try and stop it will be a part of the conspiracy to commit genocide now! We can’t keep on handing this fight on to our children, we have got to come to turns with it and the only way we are going to come to turns we have got to be honest, we own from one end of this country to the other end and we will start form there. We don’t want your back yards, we don’t want your front yards because that’s what’s been happening, the media has been used against us, you heard Linda Burney talk about it, it’s a conspiracy to shut anyone up who speaks for sovereignty, Aboriginal sovereignty. People lets not be deceived and if we are going to do it properly lets do it and be honest and go in and sit down with open heart and open mind. Now one of the things that is happening at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is that we are not into the sorry business, because sorry business means that there has been an Aboriginal death, and we are not into making people feel guilty, because guilt is negative, we are into treaty business. We want to sit down and treaty in with people, we want a peace plan and the only way it is going to happen is that we have to sit down and negotiate s people and stop relying on idiots in government like John Howard and Pauline Hanson don’t know what the bloody hell they are talking about. You have got people that are running our country that don’t know how ordinary white Australians have to go without, what it is like to be homeless, what it is like to be sick, what it is like to be living on the streets without any money or anything finance or anything. This government has been lying as all governments in the past. At the Aboriginal Tent Embassy we are into sovereignty and we want the healing process to start and the only way it is going to start is that we have to go back. One of the things we have started down there is the healing ceremonies and we are sitting in women’s and men’s business circles. Just recently we had a two week convention on the republic they wasted 47 million dollars and still after two weeks it was still chaos. They could not come to any conclusion because one of the things we said to those people down there is where are you going to get your sovereignty from, you can’t get it form the British Crown, you have to get it from Aboriginal people because we are the only sovereign Aboriginal owners of this country. One of the other things that is going around one of the great myths and why I say Aboriginal all the time is that with ATIC this big body that’s supposed to be solving all of our problems has lumped us all in together again just confusing everyone, this is Aboriginal Land not Aboriginal & Torres Straight Land. The time has come Torres Straight people have a different history, they have a different country and by throwing us all in together we are just confusing the issues and it is making it harder for people to understand. You have got little Aboriginal kids in schools being told that they are Aboriginal & Torres Straight they got no Torres Straight blood in them. We can’t go to the Torres Straight or any other of the Island’s and claim that but because it is easier for the government they lump us all in together. The other word they are throwing around now is indigenous, we are indigenous to this country but the way it seems is that all other indigenous peoples also have a place or have a connection to our country. So with the government they all lump us in together to make issues and make all the problems easier for them to solve. But it confuses people, but don’t be confused this is Aboriginal land and I’ll say and say it again until it comes home to you. My people have fought for two hundred and ten years, there is an unspoken war and it has not stopped and we are asking for peace but under a process that we determine not the government determine. The time has come for us to sit down, we’re mothers, we’re grandmothers aunt’s we’re sisters and we all have a common goal and we all have a stake in this country because we all have children and if we are to go into the next century in peace and harmony we have to address the sovereignty issue. That dirty word that no-one wants to talk about, Aboriginal Sovereignty. I am proud to be an Aboriginal woman and I am one person that has fought for Sovereignty, not to pay the rent you know it seems that the land rights legislation here in NSW is the clayton’s tonic it’s like land rights when you are not having land rights because the only one that has got real land rights is National Parks and Wildlife. Native Title, look at just the words Native means that we are less than animal, you know if we are going to be honest we have to think seriously where we are going to go and how we are going to do it but the answers don’t reside with any government. One of the things that we do at the embassy we take on all issues that effect Aboriginal people and I have been asked to mention while I am here is about the Milerra people about the mining that is going on in Milerra country without the consent of the traditional owners that it is being done through the Native Title because under that Native Title is does not recognise traditional owners and you actually have other Aboriginal people that are extinguishing traditional owners rights and it has to stop because these things are always are going to happen under legislation like native title because we have never been consulted. They had a big meeting in Canberra about the Native Title draft legislation and we actually voted against it and was unanimous by the Aboriginal people that were there, we marched on parliament house. That same afternoon a group of seven who were with us went in behind our backs and negotiated away our rights within this Native Title legislation. Now while all the Native Title legislation negotiations were going on down there in Canberra everyone was represented except Aboriginal people. It just goes to show what this country is all about the government in this country because it is all about taking our land and they do not want to give us anything back. There is enough here for everyone. We shouldn’t have to be going through all this after 210 years. My people are tiered, we want an end to this unspoken war. Have a look what is happening in Redfern the shame of it, it is going to be the Olympic Games and they are moving a whole community out, a whole community of Aboriginal people are being moved out of Redfern so it will look nice and pretty for the Olympic Games and so when people come here they do not have to be reminded about how our people have to live. You don’t have to go o the outback to see the conditions of third world countries go to Redfern, the rats are that big there they are like cats and I am not lying. I am one of the people who have fought for Redfern, we set up the legal service there over 27 years ago, that legal service has now been closed down. There has been a big conspiracy from ATSIC right up to the Prime Minister’s, to the police and the Federal Police to shut down the Aboriginal Legal Service. And I am one of the people that has been involved. While they have this big four year investigation and while you are going through this investigation you are not even allowed to tell people you are being investigated, and you are not even allowed to tell anyone about it if they say anything against you in the media you are not even allowed to defend yourself otherwise you will be charged. The Aboriginal Legal Service was the only organisation that fought for Aboriginal people in the whole time it was there. Now there is no organisation which does that, the only one is the Aboriginal tent Embassy in Canberra because it is the only one that hasn’t compromised. We are still fighting for sovereignty and we are not going to go away and we will always be there. There is a young girl going around with a bucket, one of the things is that the Aboriginal Tent Embassy is not funded by the government, I would like you to all know that and we are asking for people to make a donation so that we can continue the fight for sovereignty. And if you are interested come and treaty in because we think the time is right. We have been right through everything and the only way that we can see any peace for us is treaty and we are treating in with individuals so that hopefully if we get enough people treatying with us we can force this government or any other government to sit down and talk with us as equals.

Aboriginal Tent Embassy

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