[Marxism] All we do for them

Gary MacLennan 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 
teaching career.

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 
a punishment.

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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