[Marxism] All we do for them
g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Mon Nov 24 14:51:46 MST 2003
My involvement with the indigenous community at Cherbourg, which is located
about 3 hours north of Brisbane continues. My hope is that it will provide
me with the opportunity to do something really good at this the close of my
I attended a meeting yesterday and at it was a young Aborigine who works
with various local government projects for Aboriginal communities. I was
outlining my plans for Cherbourg and then he startled me by saying that
lots of people had tried to help Cherbourg and that lots of money had been
spent on the community and nothing had been achieved.
I was shocked not by what he said but the fact that he said it. I took him
on directly about this. Wat he had articulated was of course the standard
white myth. This goes something like "We do all we can for the
Aborigines. We keep spending money on them and nothing ever
improves. They are hopeless basket cases".
The truth is of course the exact reverse. Three men were in charge of
Aboriginal Affairs in Qld in the 20th Century. At least one of them,
Bleakley was a fascist. All three were deeply racist. Cherbourg school
itself was shockingly under-resourced for most of its 100 years. As
recently as the 90s it was a place where incompetent teachers were sent as
Aboriginal workers from Cherbourg were also underpaid by the government and
are owed thousands and thousands of dollars, very little of which will ever
be paid back. Local employers near Cherbourg also exploited Aboriginal
labour and often paid them nothing.
So instead of the myth that there has been a constant stream of high
quality input by the White community into Aboriginal communities, the
historical evidence shows that the record is one of at best White neglect
and at its worst a policy of calculated genocide.
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