Wednesday, March 15, 2006

At last a letter to the editor published 

Although the letter was edited quite drastically the Mercury editor managed to maintain the intregity of the original letter. Thank you Merury for publishing it Sunday 12 March. it has been quite a while since one of our letters have been published.

Where do reporters get their information.

The article in the Sunday Tasmanian 5 March 2006 could have been so informative. What a waste of a double page spread. Bouvilaqua only seems to rehash his own old stories when it comes to the Palawa view of Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage. He could have written an article of encouragement to preserve Tasmania’s Aboriginal heritage, but no, once again it was the same rehash of Palawa need for retribution and Brian Plomley’s very dated view of the Tasmanian Aboriginal. Just because Plomley reinforces the Palawa view of a black armband history, does not make it historically true. And, as for Rocky Sainty threatening curses on vandals what a joke.

For a decade the Tasmanian Government has only funded the Palawa Lands Councils to protect Aboriginal Heritage. They also keep giving the land into Palawa care with appropriate funding and no care or respect has been given to any of the land under Palawa control. All the Palawa want to do is lock up the areas, they consider of cultural significance, as an exclusive theme park for their revisionist perspective of Tasmania’s Aboriginal history.

In the last decade under Palawa care our heritage places, especially our rock art sites, have undergone more damage than at any other time since they became exposed. During the last decade every time an issue relating to Aboriginal heritage needs to be made, or a parliamentary decision needs to be enforced, or land is demanded back, it is the precious art sites which are targeted. Something is very amiss with the government funded Palawa lands councils for such destruction to happen, there are abundant Palawa field officers available for preservation and care. Maybe the government should consider its own heritage laws by fining the lands councils for their lack of due care of heritage sites.

As for Robinson recording the motifs. What did he do dig them out from under compacted sand dunes. None of the motif sites visible today were ever seen by Robinson or any one else for thousands of years until the early twentieth century. According to his diary Robinson saw a motif inscribed well, where he drank water from a shell, at Native Well Bay, which has since disappeared, most likely either under dunes or encroaching tide. Nowhere in Robinson’s journals or Plomley’s edited versions does Robinson claim to have seen the motif sites visible today.

One hopes that the reporter was not being racist when he virtually ignored Peter Sims expertise in the area of Greens Creek. Why wasn’t Peter Sims given a better coverage, he is internationally respected for his knowledge on Tasmanian Aboriginal rock art sites. In today’s society cultural heritage is not just an indigenous view. Without all the non indigenous people preserving and recording our motif sites over the last hundred years little would have been preserved for our children.

Globally Peter Sims is an acknowledged expert on Tasmanian motif sites, and is recognised as knowing more about Tasmanian Aboriginal motif sites than anyone else. For over thirty years Peter has single handedly recorded, monitored and tried to preserve our heritage. It was his efforts which have seen the Mersey Bluff motifs protected. Peter’s view would have been of greater value in encouraging preservation than that of an ignorant field officer pretending retribution.

Kaye McPherson
Lia Pootah Spokesperson

What we want the Tasmanian Government to consider 

This is the letter sent to the politicians in the hope that at least one would contact someone in the community. Needless to say no person of any political party has contacted any member of the Lia Pootah Community. For a democratic country there is something very wrong when a government only has one advisor and has no interest in the truth or in justice.


JUSTICE IS ESPECIALLY NEEDED FOR THE NEGLECTED GROUP OF TASMANIANS OF TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL DESCENT AND THEIR CHILDREN This group are the descendants of the Tasmanian Aboriginals who became part of the active colonial community before 1835. They and their descendants were never involved with Robinson’s round up - Flinders, Cape Barren Island or any of the Bass Strait Islander community.

THESE PEOPLE WORK WITHIN THE ORDINARY COMMUNITY OFTEN AT GREAT DISADVANTAGE AND HAVE BEEN NO PART OF ANY GOVERNMENT DECISIONS They are not part of the group sanctioned by this and previous governments. They are not the ones who constantly dictate their needs and wants demanding inappropriate compensation

THE BEST EXAMPLE OF TASMANIAN RECONCILIATION WAS IN 2003 When the Lia Pootah Community organised an event at the time of the Bowen Bicentenary to recognise a friendly interaction between two races. An event supported by thinking Tasmanians from all walks of life. Support of this type of reconciliation would build a much more effective Tasmanian Community.

OUR CHILDREN HAVE BEEN DENIED ACCESS TO EQUILIVANT EDUCATION Since January 2005 our people were removed from their jobs within Aboriginal Education through secretly negotiated policy changes. There has been no funding for our children to participate in our cultural events. Our children and their parents are not presently allowed to join educational department sponsored cultural camps or events. Is this acceptable tot he Tasmanian public?

WHY DOES THE LABOUR PARTY CONDONE THE DISCRIMINATION ENFORCED BY THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT Lia Pootah cultural heritage is not allowed in the school system from preschool to the university. Lies about who we are, are sanctioned by the government. Do all other candidates support these actions???

GIVING LAND AND SITES BACK TO THE TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL PEOPLE ENCOURAGES HEALING When access or input into how these sites are managed is only sanctioned by a minor group no healing can occur. Our Elders find it very difficult to continue teaching our heritage to our children because the Elders and the Community are no longer able to access sacred sites.

ALL PEOPLE OF TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL DESCENT HAVE A RIGHT TO EQUAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING All people of Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage should have equal access to all government funds and government funded programs. Is this not the right of all Tasmanians????

THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO ALLOW BOTH ABORIGINAL COMMUNITIES TO DETERMINE THEIR OWN ABORIGINALITY The Tasmanian present and future Governments needs to show more understanding of the Aboriginality issue. Like the rest of the Australian Aboriginal Communities each Tasmanian Aboriginal group should be able to determine their own communities objectives according to the Federal three tier test of Aboriginality. Why has the Tasmanian Government to date sanctioned only one group to dictate who is allowed to be Aboriginal in Tasmania.

FROM 1996 TO 2006 THE MONEY FOR THE ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY HAS NOT BEEN SPREAD EVENLY Will the Palawa groups getting the money be truly accountable to all Tasmanians on how this tax payers money has been distributed?

WHY HAS PREMIER LENNON AND PREVIOUS PREMIERS: BACON, RUNDEL AND GROOM ONLY BEEN ADVISED BY A GROUP WITH LIMITED POPULATION AND NARROW INTERESTS How does the government justify the fact that his advisor and his department of Aboriginal Affairs use a single representative group. Palawa. No Lia Pootah representative has ever given advice to the Premier or this office. Even our petition to Parliament was ignored by the Labour Government. Is this to continue with the newly elected government????

IT IS UNJUST THAT A SMALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT BEEN ALLOWED TO DETERMINE POLICY INTERESTS FOR A TINY PERCENTAGE OF ABORIGINAL TASMANIANS The Office of Aboriginal Affairs should be held accountable for the biased opinions and lies being circulated such as Tasmanian Aboriginal people of Lia Pootah descent are not Aboriginal – with claims of sensitivity to Aboriginal culture, people making enquiries are in fact discouraged talk to us – and virtually demand that people do not access our website as it is lies. Judgements inappropriate to their position.

WHAT HAVE THE PALAWA LANDS COUNCILS DONE WITH ALL THE MONEY does the Tasmanian budget actually show the total subsidy of the millions of dollars going annually to the small Palawa group ( in fact a total of about 450 persons). Millions of dollars of taxpayers money has been given to Palawa Lands Council to protect Tasmania’s Aboriginal heritage and yet they allow vandalism to occur. What areas do those Palawa trained as field officers work, if it is not with our sites. Our rock art is the heritage of all Tasmanians. Lia Pootah’s Nubatrone Lands Council receives no funding, no say, and not even access to our heritage. With no funding our field officers trained before 1996 cannot be employed. Is this what Tasmanian politics support???

ALL TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL ROCK ART AND HERITAGE SITES ARE PROTECTED BY ACTS OF PARLIAMENT. THIS PROTECTION HAS BEEN IN PALAWA CONTROL SINCE 1996 The Palawa Lands Councils are funded to protect Tasmanian Aboriginal Heritage sites, so, why hasn’t the Tasmanian Government fined the Palawa lands councils for breaches of the Heritage Act for the vandalism at the Sundown Point and Greens Creek Motif sites and the destruction of Quaternary and Holocene middens at Dolphin Sands.

WHY HAS THE NUBATRONE LANDS COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVE AND LIA POOTAH CULTURAL HERITAGE OFFICER NOT BEEN ASKED TO VISIT THE GREENS CREEK SITE. Political sensitivities to a bully group sanction discrimination and instill fear of freedom of speech. An integral part of the total genocide of the majority of Tasmanian Aboriginals.

FOUR MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE STOLEN GENERATION Until the mid 1990s Palawa were known officially as "hybrids" (multi racial descent with an Aboriginal ancestor (mainland Australian in some families not Tasmanian Aboriginal) and the records show that the removal of children is recorded as welfare issues. Australia’s national disgrace is that only Aboriginal children "white" enough to be assimilated were stolen and removed. Is Premier Lennon or future Tasmanian Governments going to compensate Lia Pootah for their children who were stolen and put into orphanages and "respectable" families in the nineteenth century by the then governments attempt of forced assimilation. It was this attempt at assimilation which has created the Aboriginal "problem" today.

PALAWA CLAIMS OF CULTURAL HERITAGE ONLY INVOLVES THEIR ISLAND HISTORY. If they had a mainland Tasmanian Aboriginal culture why did they sanction forestry to log the ancestors spirit trees. Indiscriminate logging has seen the sacred forest areas of Lia Pootah ancestral spirit trees destroyed for pulp.

TASMANIAN ABORIGINAL HERITAGE IS ABOUT SHARING Not about ownership – segregation – denial of distant cousins. We cannot turn the clock back. To be Tasmanian Aboriginal means having a dual heritage. If it wasn’t for our ancestors having children with the invader then the Tasmanian Aboriginal would really be no more.

LIA POOTAH GET MORE RECOGNITION FROM OVERSEAS. Our Community have attained international respect for their cultural knowledge and willingness to share. They receive positive help and commitment overseas in both academic and indigenous Communities. Yet are denied a voice in their own state.



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